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Thursday, September 2, 1999 Published at 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK


Edward: No intention to offend

Edward: Giving offence was "the last thing on my mind"

The Earl of Wessex says he had "no intention of offending my country" with his comments about the British media's attitude to success.

BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond: "Prince Edward has never had a close relationship with the media"
"Those who know me or the programmes that Ardent produces would realise that offending the British public was the very last thing I would have wanted to do," he said in a statement.

The Prince has been criticised for comments he made to the New York Times, attacking the way he is treated by the British media.

In an interview with the paper, the Earl of Wessex said: "They hate anyone who succeeds."

Ruth Lea of the Institute of Directors reacts to Prince Edward's comments
The Earl, in Los Angeles to drum up business for his television production company Ardent Productions, said he found Hollywood a "breath of fresh air".

His comments came in an interview with the paper's Los Angeles correspondent James Sterngold, who spoke to the Earl about his ambitions for breaking into the American market.

"America is where the money is," Edward said.

[ image: Edward and Sophie both went back to work days after their wedding]
Edward and Sophie both went back to work days after their wedding
He then went on to talk about his ambitions to produce documentaries, detective shows and historical dramas.

Contrasting the way he has been received in the States with the way he believes he is treated in Britain, Edward said: "They hate anyone who succeeds.

"There was much more openness and willingness to take us for what we are here (in the US). Over there there's more baggage, if you understand that expression."

The trip to Hollywood is reported as a great success by the New York Times, with the Earl - known as Edward Windsor in his professional life - described by the paper as "the suddenly hot, newly-anointed mini media baron".

The paper said he had lined up agreements to develop movies or series with NBC, Showtime, CBS, Paramount and the Fox Family Channel.

Ardent Productions, which was set up in 1993, has never been in profit. One of its earliest programmes, political satire Annie's Bar, was quickly dropped after being panned by the critics.

[ image: Mrs Shand Kydd echoes Edward's dislike of the media]
Mrs Shand Kydd echoes Edward's dislike of the media
But more recently Edward's documentary about his great-uncle Edward VIII, entitled Edward on Edward, and a programme marking the Queen Mother's birthday, have been well received.

Edward's dislike of the media was echoed on Thursday by Frances Shand Kydd, the mother of the late Princess of Wales.

Mrs Shand Kydd said she had been a victim of media intrusion ahead of this week's commemoration of her daughter's death.

She wrote in The Daily Telegraph: "They (the media) wanted a lot of me prior to Diana's anniversary. I was driven from my home by media attention and had to stay with friends."

Mrs Shand Kydd, who lives a reclusive life on the Scottish island of Seil, said that she resented being treated as a commercial asset to boost television audiences, circulations and sales promotions.

"I shared (Diana), not always joyfully, with the world when she was alive," she wrote. "I'm possessive, since her death, of her and of what I see to be the interests of her 'blood' family."

She added that she would never "divulge my personal memories of Diana", and criticised those whom she said have done so.

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