Queen in wedding snub

THE Queen is to stay away from the civil marriage ceremony of her son, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles, Buckingham Palace confirmed last night. But she will attend the church blessing following the civil ceremony. Prince William and Prince Harry, along with Mrs Parker Bowles's children, Tom and Laura, will be present at the April 8 civil wedding in the Guildhall at Windsor. Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen will not be attending the civil ceremony because she is aware that the prince and Mrs Parker Bowles wanted to keep the occasion low-key."

ASYLUM DOWN: The number of asylum seekers arriving in Britain fell by two per cent in the final quarter of 2004, Government figures say. Excluding dependants such as spouses and children, 8,465 people arrived in the UK claiming asylum, down from 8,605.

MOVIE RELIC: The flashy dance floor where John Travolta strutted his stuff in Saturday Night Fever is to go under the hammer. The floor has been the centrepiece of a New York nightclub for almost 25 years but was saved when the club was sold off to an investment company. It is expected to attract bids of more than £42,000.

TOP COOK: Jamie Oliver beat Rick Stein, Delia Smith and Gordon Ramsay to be named the UK's favourite celebrity chef yesterday. The Naked Chef clinched the title at a food awards ceremony organised by Good Housekeeping magazine.

EMPIRE LINGERS: The Government yesterday rejected calls to replace the Order of the British Empire with a new Order of British Excellence. It also ruled out doing away with knighthoods or damehoods, in response to two reports on the honours system.

CONNERY LAWSUIT: Sir Sean Connery has been hit with a multi-million pound lawsuit by neighbours who claim he is making their lives hell. The 74-year-old Scot has enraged his New York neighbours, who have accused him of allowing workers to create deafening noise, fumes, dripping water and an infestation of rats.