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Monday, August 10, 1998 Published at 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK


UK

Prince orders abseil investigation

Passer-by's snap of the prince appears in News of the World

The Prince of Wales has ordered a full investigation into allegations that Princes Harry and William abseiled down a dam without proper safety equipment.

Every member of the party present when 13-year-old Prince Harry abseiled down the 156ft-high Grwyne-Fawr dam in Monmouthshire without a safety helmet or safety line will be asked closely about the incident.

Tiggy Legge-Bourke, the teenage princes' former nanny, and Royal bodyguards were among the eight-strong party on the trip, which is also believed to have included 16-year-old Prince William.

But they can rest safe in the knowledge that they will not face charges over the incident.

Hyder, the Welsh water company which operates the dam and reservoir, said it would not be prosecuting whoever organised the royal abseil.

Royal concern


[ image: Prince Charles wants an investigation]
Prince Charles wants an investigation
Prince Charles has said to confidantes that if he learns his sons acted without proper caution, he will make it clear he is "not amused" by their behaviour.

In particular he is concerned the behaviour of the princes may have affected the position of others who were with them on the outing.

The Palace has already pledged to ensure that both the young princes are properly kitted out with safety equipment if they undertake a similar pursuit in the future.

Prince Harry's solo walk down the dam was photographed by a holidaymaker and appeared in The News of the World newspaper. It is understood that William made a similar descent.

The dam is near the family home of Miss Legge-Bourke's at Crickhowell. Local people said the princes had been seen with her at the reservoir on at least one previous occasion.

Individual abseilers have tackled Grwyne-Fawr in the past but it is not used regularly by adventure training firms.


[ image: How the paper broke the news]
How the paper broke the news
A special permit is normally required for abseiling activities from Welsh Water which operates the reservoir. Abseilers have to sign an indemnity in case of injury.

Karl Durham, co-owner of the Black Mountain activity centre, commented: "Not to use a helmet while abseiling is foolhardy because it is crucial equipment.

"I am surprised Prince Harry was allowed to go down the dam without a helmet and without a separate safety line held by an instructor."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it recommends anyone abseiling to wear a helmet "at all times".

A spokesman said: "We like to see people in the public eye setting a good example as it is a great help with promoting safety."





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