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Monday, October 26, 1998 Published at 10:46 GMT


'Let Diana be'

Newspaper coverage has been branded "less than courageous"

Buckingham Palace has appealed for Diana, Princess of Wales, to be allowed to rest in peace.

Nicholas Witchell: "Prince Charles' main concern is the feelings of Princes' William and Harry
The call comes after publication of extracts from a controversial new book which paints the late princess in a bad light.

Officials have rejected reports that there was a "crisis summit" at the palace to discuss the contents of the book.

The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles have forcefully denied allegations that they were behind the damning revelations.

Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell: "The nightmare has returned"
The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has also entered the row by condemning Penny Junor's soon-to-be-published book on the prince's marriage to Diana, called Charles: Victim or Villain?

In an angry statement, the Duchess of York said: "I deplore the fact that the Princess of Wales, who was loved and respected by so many, is apparently considered to be a legitimate target for this sort of shameful and chilling attack, from which she can no longer defend herself."

[ image: Sarah Ferguson: Diana not a
Sarah Ferguson: Diana not a "legitimate target"
Prince Charles said that he had refused to become involved in any way with Ms Junor's controversial book, which will go on sale to coincide with his 50th birthday next month.

The book contains a number of new allegations, including a claim that Diana made death threats to Mrs Parker Bowles.

Ms Junor also suggests that the princess was the first to be unfaithful, with her bodyguard Barry Mannakee, who is now dead.

A statement issued on Sunday by the Prince of Wales and his long-term companion said: "Penny Junor's book was not authorised, solicited or approved by the Prince of Wales or Mrs Parker Bowles.

[ image: The book alleges that Camilla received death threats]
The book alleges that Camilla received death threats
"The Prince of Wales recognises that there is - and probably will continue to be - a great interest in the events surrounding his marriage.

"However, he has always been strongly of the view that private and personal details surrounding it should be left private and undisturbed."

It said that for the sake of Princes William and Harry, "the past should remain in the past".

Earlier, Buckingham Palace reacted angrily to the book, which alleges that the Queen only consented to the use of the Royal Squadron for the return of Diana's body to the UK after an aide asked her: "Would you rather, ma'am, that she came back in a Harrods van?"

The palace repeated denials, issued at the time of the princess's death, that there was discord within the Royal Family and disputes with Diana's family, the Spencers, over her funeral arrangements.

[ image: Author Penny Junor claims the couple had vicious rows]
Author Penny Junor claims the couple had vicious rows
Up to 30 of the prince's friends and advisers are understood to have co-operated with the book, which suggests that Diana "lured" Charles into marrying her by feigning an interest in country pursuits.

Ms Junor says the couple's honeymoon ended with the prince throwing his wife's wedding ring at an aide after a vicious row between the newly-weds.

She told the Mail on Sunday that she wrote the book "to explain what really happened in that marriage".

She said: "It is an attempt to describe why Charles married Diana, what life was like for them both and what went so badly wrong that she felt compelled to tell the world and take very public revenge on her husband."

Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, said: "I am wholly aware and totally supportive of the press statement made by William and Harry in early September. Therefore, I am unable to improve on silence."

Roger Gale: "Prince William and Prince Harry have a right to privacy"
Conservative MP Roger Gale described newspaper coverage of the claims in Ms Junor's book as "grotesque".

"It is less than courageous journalism to make a swipe at two people - Princess Diana and her former bodyguard - neither of whom can sue because both are dead," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"This in my view, highlights once again the need for an independent Press Complaints Authority with statutory powers to force a code of conduct."

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