16 MAY 2008

When Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly become man and wife on Saturday, it looks like there will be one important absentee in Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel. According to latest reports the groom's cousin, William, will be thousands of miles away in Africa witnessing a friend's nuptials. His girlfriend, Kate Middleton, will still attend, however.

"Prince William's going to be out of the country on a long-standing prior engagement," a royal source told a British newspaper. "He spoke to his cousin Peter and he is fine about it. His girlfriend will go in his absence."

The 'prior engagement' is a Maasai-themed ceremony in Kenya in which Batian Craig, the brother of the Prince's childhood sweetheart Jecca, will wed. "He felt he had to go to Kenya because the Craigs asked him first," explained a friend of Wills, adding the royal made a special effort to attend the stag weekend by way of compensation.

Kate solo presence at such a key royal occasion is another important signal of her acceptance among the Windsors. The Queen and Prince Philip are to lead the family turnout and have personally granted their eldest grandson the use of Frogmore House, a mansion in the grounds of the private Home Park of Windsor Castle, for the reception.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Though William was an essential part of the fun at his cousin Peter's stag do, the Prince is apparently missing this weekend's ceremony to attend another wedding in AfricaPhoto: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
His girlfriend Kate Middleton will still go, howeverPhoto: © Getty Images
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