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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 07:33 GMT 08:33 UK
Camilla's memorial move welcomed
The Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla said her presence could 'divert attention' from the event
The Duchess of Cornwall's decision not to attend a memorial to mark the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death has met with approval.

One of Diana's friends, Rosa Monckton, said it would be "deeply inappropriate" for Camilla to attend Friday's service.

Camilla said she feared her attendance "could divert attention from the purpose of the occasion".

Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine, said the Queen would have sanctioned the duchess's decision.

'Support princes'

In a statement explaining her decision not to attend, Camilla said she was "touched" at her invitation from Princes William and Harry.

"I accepted and wanted to support them," she said.

"However, on reflection I believe my attendance could divert attention from the purpose of the occasion, which is to focus on the life and service of Diana.

I cannot understand any rationale at all as to why William or Harry would want Camilla at that service
James Whitaker
Royal commentator

"I'm grateful to my husband, William and Harry for supporting my decision."

Royal commentator James Whitaker said he doubted if the princes really wanted Camilla to attend.

"They only wanted her there because she is the wife of their father, whom they adore," he said.

"We know from Diana's own lips that she blamed Camilla hugely for the breakdown of the marriage," Mr Whitaker added.

Palace 'relief'

Buckingham Palace said that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess would have consulted the Queen over their decision.

"The Queen is certainly aware. The Queen would ultimately have supported the decision," a Palace spokeswoman said.

Bless her, she can do nothing right. It's probably the best move, though
Caz, Cambridgeshire

The BBC's royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, said he believed there would be "relief" at Buckingham Palace over Camilla's decision.

He said it would have gone against one of the key lessons the Royal Family was supposed to have learned after Diana's death, which was that it "cannot act in a way that flies in the face of public feeling and the public mood".

Diana, Princess of Wales
Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997

Ms Seward added that the service on Friday would have been extremely difficult for the duchess.

"All eyes would have been on her. We would have been thinking 'what's Camilla doing? Is she crying? Is she feeling awkward?' It would have been awful for her," she said.

Around 500 guests are expected at the thanksgiving service, including more than 30 royals and figures such as Sir Elton John and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Princes William and Harry are to give readings along with Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

Princess Diana died, aged 36 - along with her companion Dodi Al Fayed, 42, and chauffeur Henri Paul - when the Mercedes they were in crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris on 31 August 1997.

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