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Sunday, November 8, 1998 Published at 20:42 GMT


Charles given say in TV documentary

Prince Charles was "hurt" by the allegations

The controversial documentary that claimed Prince Charles wants the Queen to abdicate has been broadcast with the prince's vigorous denial included.

The programme also screened comments from royal watchers, who gave their differing opinions on the row that has erupted since London Weekend Television released details of the programme's contents.

LWT had decided to reflect the prince's dismissal of the "hurtful" allegations and the row over whether a senior Buckingham Palace aide approved the programme.

In a rare joint statement from St James's Palace and Buckingham Palace on Friday, the prince described the allegations as "deeply offensive" and "completely wrong".

LWT stands by claims

But LWT stood by its claims, saying four briefings were held with the official and all the main topics of the programme, including the abdication question, were approved.

The programme said: "We have been told by a senior aide that Charles believes the monarchy needs radical modernisation. He is impatient to get on with the job. And that's why, the aide said, the prince would be 'privately delighted' if the Queen were to abdicate."

But LWT also decided that the prince's statement dismissing this claim as not reflecting his views would be shown during the programme called Charles at 50.

Dr David Starkey: Claims are "preposterous"
Constitutional historian Dr David Starkey said of the abdication claims: "Probably Charles has sometimes said, maybe aloud, 'Wouldn't it be nice'.

"But to express a formal wish for abdication to transfer that irritation, impatience into a formal wish for abdication on his mother's part is preposterous."

However, Andrew Morton, author of controversial biographies of Diana, Princess of Wales, disagreed that the claims were without foundation.

Andrew Morton: "This is not some maverick aide"
"Let's not run away with the idea this is all some maverick aide wildly briefing the press. This is part of a policy, this is part of a pattern.

"You can see it consistently over the last year, and you can see it consistently over the last seven years," he told the programme.

Friends of the senior aide have insisted in several newspaper reports that he did not make the controversial remarks to the documentary team.

The programme also said that even if the prince marries Camilla Parker Bowles, she will never become Queen.

LWT's documentary comes ahead of a BBC Panorama broadcast on Monday of an "authoritative portrait" of the prince.

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