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Sunday, October 25, 1998 Published at 16:31 GMT


Prince denies involvement in Diana book

Newspaper coverage has been attacked as "less than courageous"

BBC Court Correspondent Nicholas Witchell reports
The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles have rejected allegations that they were behind a damning new book about Diana, Princess of Wales.

[ image: The book alleges that Camilla received death threats]
The book alleges that Camilla received death threats
Prince Charles says he refused to become involved in any way with Penny Junor's controversial book - which marks his 50th birthday next month - but does not comment about its content.

In the book, Charles: Victim or Villain?, Ms Junor alleges that Diana made death threats to Mrs Parker Bowles and says the princess was the first to be unfaithful. The book says she had an affair with her bodyguard, Barry Mannakee, who is now dead.

'We never authorised it'

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

"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."

Prince Charles went on to say 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 also alleges that the Queen had to be forced to allow Diana's body to be brought back from Paris in a royal plane.

'Grotesque misrepresentation'

A palace spokesman said the claim was a "grotesque misrepresentation of the truth".

According to the book, the Queen only consented to the use of the Royal Squadron 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 or disputes between the Windsors and 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 charts the entire span of the royal marriage.

The book presents the view that Diana lured Charles into marrying her by claiming to enjoy country pursuits and 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.

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

'Portrait of the Prince of Wales at 50'

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."

In a brief statement 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 Penny 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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