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PM may have to send royal couple his regrets after all

Prince William and Kate Middleton wave to the crowds after officially launching the new RNLI's lifeboat 'Hereford Endeavour' at Trearddur Bay, Anglesey on February 24, 2011 in Trearddur, Wales.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Even if a looming federal election doesn't have the dire economic consequences the Conservatives have warned, it's already wreaking havoc on the Prime Minister's social calendar.

Sources said on Wednesday it's "unlikely" Stephen Harper would be able to take a break from campaigning to fly to England for the royal wedding at Westminster Abbey next month.

Mr. Harper and his wife, Laureen, are among only a handful of Canadians who received the sought-after engraved invitations to the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Sixty prime ministers and governors-general from across the Commonwealth's 16 "realms" are on the guest list, according to Buckingham Palace. (Governor-General David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, plan to attend.)

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The Prime Minister's office confirmed barely two weeks ago the Harpers were "honoured" to be included "to personally convey the best wishes of all Canadians to the happy couple."

The royal guest list is a mix of European royalty, military personnel, charity workers, diplomats and friends of the betrothed. And the hotly anticipated nuptials boast concentric circles of exclusivity: 1,900 people are invited to the service at Westminster Abbey. Of those, 600 will get to attend the Queen's lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace. Only 300 are on the guest list for a dinner at Buckingham Palace given by the Prince of Wales.

Even as the Prime Minister revised his schedule, however, the Tories were still saying they hold out hope the opposition will refrain from triggering a vote.

"We are hopeful the opposition will reconsider their decision to force a reckless and unnecessary election," said Dimitri Soudas, director of communications for the Prime Minister's office.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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