London: Pope Benedict XVI has turned down the invitation to meet Prince Charles on his first state visit to Britain in September, claiming he is "too busy", a media report said on Sunday.
The two men will not get together even though Prince Charles will be in Scotland when the Pontiff starts his three-day trip by calling on the Queen and Prince Philip at Holyrood House in Edinburgh, the Mail Online reported.
Charles had wanted to meet the Pope separately in Edinburgh on the same day, but at another venue "to establish his independence" from the Queen, the report said.
Now Charles will remain at Birkhall, the house he shares with Camilla on the Balmoral estate, while his parents make a 100-mile trip from the Royal Family's summer retreat to meet the Pope at Holyrood September 16.
Charles' official spokesman denied he had been snubbed.
"There were discussions between the Vatican and Clarence House about the possibility of having a separate meeting while the Pope was in Edinburgh, but there wasn't time in his schedule for that," said the spokesman.
Asked why the Prince could not join the Queen and Prince Philip at Holyrood for the Pope's Royal welcome, the spokesman said: "That is an event, not a meeting."
The spokesman also denied that the Prince had rejected a subsequent invitation by the Pope to join him at an inter-faith event in London the following day.
The Pope offered it as an alternative to a one-to-one meeting with Prince Charles - and that the Prince rejected it on the grounds that it did not match his status, the report said.
But the Prince's spokesman insisted that he had not been invited to the inter-faith event at St Mary's University, a Catholic teaching training college, in Twickenham, South-West London.
First Published: Sunday, July 11, 2010, 14:53