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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 12:13 GMT
Q&A Princess Anne in court
Princess Anne has been fined 500 and ordered to pay compensation after pleading guilty to a charge that one of her dogs attacked two children.

Dickie Arbiter, former press officer at Buckingham Palace, addresses some of the issues surrounding the outcome of the case - the first to leave a senior royal with a criminal record.


Did the princess get any special treatment?

No, she knows if you are going to walk your dogs in a public area you have got to take the consequences that can result from it.

It's an unfortunate incident that happens every day and people end up in court because of the misdemeanours of their animals.

It's not an every day occurrence to have a royal in the dock, but she has pleaded guilty and been sentenced like anybody else.

When she and her husband went walking their dogs in Windsor Great Park they were there as private people, as Mr and Mrs Laurence.

What will the sentence mean to Anne and the other royals?

The Princess Royal is pretty responsible when it comes to animals.

After all we don't know the circumstances under which these two children were bitten.

One implication that comes out of it is she's got to be very careful with her other dogs. If it means taking your dog for a walk on a lead then so be it.

As for the Queen, she is pretty pragmatic and will see it as the price of being a pet lover.

But it must be hard for the Queen after such a difficult year

Let's put this in perspective: it hasn't been a difficult year it's been a difficult three and a half weeks.

The Paul Burrell trial collapsed on 1 November and it will disappear into the mists of time.

But it has been a terrific year for the Royals and we will all remember the Golden Jubilee celebrations in that first weekend in June which were so successful.

I don't think this court appearance is going to affect the year one way or another. It is an unfortunate incident, but not an unfortunate year.

A recent opinion poll put support for this monarchy at a new low - how do they try to put things right?

I think where they go from here is the way they've gone in the past: keep your head down and do the job in hand.

Opinion polls are always pretty suspect, it depends who's doing it and it depends on the sorts of questions being asked.

Is an opinion poll of 1,000 people representative of the population as a whole? I think not.

I think most people will remember the pop concerts and the celebrations.

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21 Nov 02 | UK
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