Pete Broadbent, Church Of England Bishop, Apologizes To William And Kate After Facebook Diss

11/22/2010 04:12 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Church of England bishop issued a formal apology to the newly-engaged Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton, after the clergyman posted a note on Facebook suggesting the couple's marriage would last a mere seven years, AOL is reporting.

Reverend Pete Broadbent, the bishop of Willesden in northwest London, wrote of his frustrations with the U.K. media onslaught that ensued after William, 28, announced his engagement last week. "As with most shallow celebrities, they will be set up to fail by the gutter press," Broadbent wrote. "I give the marriage seven years."

The reverend also subjected William's parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, to his online tirade, noting, "I managed to avoid the last disaster in slow motion between Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll, and I hope to avoid this one, too."

Broadbent's words sparked immediate outrage, and a Facebook group, called "The Bishop of Willesden Must Resign," was quickly established. Tory MP Nicholas Soames, a close friend of the royal family, slammed Broadbent's comments as being "extremely rude" and "not what one expects from a bishop."

Perhaps realizing that he potentially faces an awkward encounter with William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II when she is scheduled to open the Church's General Synod in London, Broadbent reportedly issued a statement, saying that he now "recognize(s) that the tone of my language and the content of what I said were deeply offensive, and I apologize unreservedly for the hurt caused." He went on to note, "I wish Prince William and Kate Middleton a happy and lifelong marriage, and will hold them in my prayers."

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