A leading bishop has been criticised after denouncing the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, saying the marriage will only last for seven years.
The Rev Pete Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden, attacked what he described as the "nauseating tosh" surrounding the engagement and likened the couple to "shallow celebrities".
He said the royal family was full of "broken marriages and philanderers" and expressed disappointment that the wedding would cost the public "an arm and a leg".
Bishop Broadbent's comments, made on his Facebook page, provoked anger and embarrassment among Church of England members and MPs.
Canon Peter Bruinvels, a Synod member and former Tory MP, said: "This is deeply disappointing and disrespectful. The bishop should be reminded that we are an established church in which the monarch plays an integral role."
The bishop's immediate superior, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, is a close friend of the Prince Charles and sources have suggested that he may be asked to conduct the wedding service.
But Lambeth Palace played down the furore, insisting that the bishop was "entitled to his views".
The bishop, a Labour Party member and formerly an Islington councillor, was yesterday unavailable for comment.
But a Church of England spokesman said: "He's a bishop, he's an individual, he's got his own views."
A source close to the clergyman said: "The bishop had actually written he didn't think the marriage would last more than seven years because of harassment by the press, but I imagine the full quote was not printed."
A spokesman for Clarence House declined to comment on the bishop's postings.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: "It is extraordinary that a bishop of the Church of England should be a republican, given that Prince William -- when he ascends the throne -- will be his future boss."
William and his fiancee have not yet confirmed where they will be married or named a date.
It is known the couple have a venue in mind and a date but they are fitting their planning around William's job as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.