LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Britain”s Queen Elizabeth will not attend the country”s first Holocaust Memorial Day this weekend, further fuelling the debate over who should or should not attend the highly controversial event.

Buckingham Palace said on Thursday the Queen had turned down the invitation to Saturday”s memorial in London and would not interrupt an extended Christmas break. A palace source added that the monarch”s diary was planned months in advance, but that her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles would take time off from his private engagements in order to attend.

…Despite the debate, Prime Minister Tony Blair will lead politicians, church leaders and charity workers at the ceremony, which will be broadcast live on television and radio. Also attending will be Britain”s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, actor Ian McKellen and rock star Bob Geldof.