LONDON (AP) – Prince Charles and his companion, Camilla Parker Bowles, will not attend the wedding of his godson this weekend, sparking reports in newspapers that they refused to be seated apart.

The reports underline the continuing social awkwardness of Charles’ very public liaison with a woman he says he has no plans to marry.

The Daily Mail, which played the story on its front page Wednesday, said Charles pulled out because Parker Bowles had been assigned a seat in Chester Cathedral several rows behind him.

The Daily Telegraph, in its front-page story, headlined: “Camilla boycotts wedding over snub.”

The explanation from Charles’ office, however, was that he was passing up the wedding of godson Edward van Cutsem and Lady Tamara Grosvenor to meet with families of the Black Watch Regiment, which was recently redeployed nearer Baghdad, Iraq.

“He’s very keen to meet the families and Saturday was the earliest opportunity to do so,” a spokesman said Tuesday.

Charles’ eldest son, Prince William, reportedly will be at the wedding, serving as an usher, and Queen Elizabeth II also was expected to attend.

NEW YORK (AP) – Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, stars of “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica,” want everyone to know they’re happily married.

The couple, who celebrated their second wedding anniversary on Oct. 26, are taping a new season of their MTV reality series and will star in their second ABC variety show in December.

Yes, Simpson tells People magazine, they get into arguments.

“What married couple doesn’t?” the 24-year-old singer says. “You don’t want to marry somebody who’s just like you. So there are always going to be conflicts. That’s what compromise is all about. It means that we’re communicating.”

And Lachey, 30, says he isn’t jealous of his wife’s popularity.

“There’s no bigger supporter in Jessica’s life than me,” he tells the magazine. “Her success is my success. Marriage is a team effort. Both of us share that philosophy.”

As to reports that their marriage is on the rocks, Simpson says: “Our relationship is better than it’s ever been. We are absolutely not breaking up.”

“This is a great time in our lives and careers,” Lachey says.

Meanwhile, Simpson, who will play Daisy Duke in the upcoming “The Dukes of Hazzard” movie, has come to the defense of her 20-year-old sister, Ashlee, who was recently busted for a “Saturday Night Live” lip-synch gone awry.

“Ashlee is an amazingly talented person,” she told the “Access Hollywood” syndicated entertainment TV show. “She’s already sold 3 million records, which is more than I sold in two years. She’s proven herself.”

LONDON (AP) – Rock guitarist Eric Clapton set aside his “rebellious streak” to become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE.

The 59-year-old singer-songwriter described the honor – conferred by Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, during a ceremony Wednesday at Buckingham Palace – as the “icing on the cake” of his career.

But Clapton conceded that he would have found it hard to accept the honor, with all its establishment connections, earlier in his life.

“I had a rebellious streak in me,” he told reporters after the ceremony. “As a kid I would not have been able to accept this. I was very immature about the way I looked at that. I was against the establishment.

“Now I have grown up, I really think it is an important thing to be able to set an example of some kind.”

He was accompanied by his wife, Melia McEnery, who is expecting the couple’s third child. They have two young daughters.

Clapton, who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in 1994, first found fame in the 1960s as a member of the Yardbirds, before going on to achieve even greater international acclaim with the group Cream.

He recorded his most famous song, “Layla,” with his band Derek and the Dominos, and followed that with a string of successful solo albums through the 1970s and 1980s.

NEW YORK (AP) – LL Cool J has canceled the remaining 12 dates on his tour due to an abdominal ailment.

“I am extremely disappointed to have to cancel the rest of this fun and successful tour,” the 36-year-old rapper-actor said in a statement. “I apologize for disappointing my fans who have already bought tickets.”

No additional information was available Tuesday about his illness. A release from his publicist said he is under a doctor’s care and requires medication and rest.

Refunds can be sought at the point of purchase.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) – Just a few miles from the surf and sand the Beach Boys celebrated, the city will dedicate a monument where Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson grew up.

California Historical Landmark No. 1041 will be dedicated on May 20.

The Wilson home was razed to make room for the Century Freeway, so the monument will sit at the end of dead-end 119th Street next to a sound wall built to mute traffic noise.

The effort to get landmark status for the Wilson home site was led by Harry Jarnagan, a construction engineer and Beach Boys fan from Tracy, Calif. In August, the California Historical Landmark Commission approved Jarnagan’s application.

The landmark status committee held a design competition for the monument and 16 entries were received. Jarnagan said most proposals, which can be viewed at, feature images of surfboards, waves or musical notes sculpted from brick, bronze and granite.

The winning entry will be chosen by a panel of Hawthorne officials and Wilson family members, he said. The monument will incorporate a bronze plaque designating the place as a historical landmark, and donated bricks, which have been inscribed with the names of people who have donated $100 or more to the project, Jarnagan said.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – The work of two University of Florida documentary students beat out 150 other films to receive a coveted place in the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library.

“Miss Lil’s Camp,” the story of a Georgia camp director who taught white girls in the Jim Crow South that segregation was wrong, won a student competition to be screened along with award-winning films about former President Clinton and the issues he faced.

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, one of the select screeners for Oscar-nominated documentaries each year, made the selection.

“Miss Lil’s Camp” was made by University of Florida Film Institute students Suzanne Niedland and Anberin Pasha. They interviewed three women who attended Lillian Smith’s exclusive girls camp in Clayton, Ga., and wove in rare archival footage of the camp to tell Smith’s story.

Niedland said Smith was “ahead of her time” in the way she challenged young women of that era “to question, rather than accept the world they lived in.” She said Clinton represents that same ability of individuals to overcome far-reaching injustice.

“Lillian Smith and President Clinton, more so than any other president, had empathy, support and concern for minorities and particularly the black community,” Niedland said. “President Clinton came from humble beginnings and identified closely with those that suffered from discrimination.”

Niedland and Pasha made “Miss Lil’s Camp” for a graduate thesis project. They will attend the Nov. 16 screening at the main library in Little Rock. The Clinton Library opens a few blocks away two days later with a gala for Clinton, international dignitaries and an anticipated 30,000 guests.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The macho world of rugby has a new look. One player on the famed All Blacks team wears eye makeup during games.

Ma’a Nonu told a TV interviewer Tuesday that he recently began wearing dark eyeliner in major games and would continue to do so on New Zealand’s tour of Britain and Italy. He said his teammates gave him “some grief,” but he will continue with his fashion statement.

Nonu said he always tries to express his personality on the field. He began by wearing dreadlocks but when that became common among New Zealand players, he experimented with hair colors. Now, he applies the eyeliner in the dressing room before games.

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