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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 22:17 GMT 23:17 UK
TV firm issues William apology
Prince Edward's television company has "unreservedly apologised" for compromising a privacy agreement on Prince William at St Andrews University.

However, Ardent Productions described suggestions that it had continued to film in the town of St Andrews on Thursday as "crazy and stupid".

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is to write to broadcast regulators about the behaviour of the company.

Lord Wakeham is "very concerned" about the decision to contiue filming in the town after all other camera crews, photographers and reporters had pulled out.

Prince Edward
Prince Edward's company "unreservedly apologised"

Prince William, who started a degree course at the Scottish university this week, was upset when a television camera crew was spotted filming in breach of a media agreement to allow the student Prince his privacy.

Lord Wakeham will write to the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) and the Independent Television Commission (ITC) to ensure the prince's privacy is not compromised.

A PCC spokesman said: "Prince William's privacy has always been a matter of great concern to the British press which has worked hard - in co-operation with the PCC - to ensure that he maintains as much privacy as possible.

"Lord Wakeham is very concerned about recent developments relating to a TV company which is outside the responsibility of the PCC.

"It will be writing to the broadcasting regulators to see if there are any areas of mutual co-operation which can be considered to ensure that Prince William's privacy continues to be respected by all parts of the British media."

'Urgent investigation'

A statement issued by Ardent read: "There has obviously been a serious misunderstanding over the last few days about the issue of filming at St Andrews following Prince William's arrival at the university.

"Ardent is satisfied that the A-Z film crew were not filming Prince William and had no intention of doing so.

"The company is treating this incident very seriously and is urgently investigating the details of what actually occurred.

"Ardent had no wish to breach the spirit of the arrangements which had been put in place to protect the privacy of Prince William and all the students at St Andrews.

Lord Wakeham, Prince William and Prince Charles
Lord Wakeham (left) is "very concerned"

"It unreservedly apologises if the activity of the production team has put those agreed arrangements in doubt.

"Ardent wholly supports the media handling arrangements which have been agreed for Prince William's time at St Andrews and will continue to do so."

Earlier, university officials dismissed the company's claims that the film crews' presence at St Andrews had been authorised by its press office.

It said the TV crew continued to film in the town until late on Wednesday evening despite an agreement that all media would leave after a photocall arranged to mark the 19-year-old prince's arrival on Sunday.

Prince Charles was said to be "incandescent" with rage that an agreement to allow his son to carry out his university career without intrusion had apparently been broken by his brother's company.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The irony is not lost on the media"
Penny Junor, Royal Biographer
"It reflects very badly on Prince Edward and his company"
See also:

27 Sep 01 | Scotland
Royal row over media breach
27 Sep 01 | Scotland
Loophole in prince's privacy deal
24 Sep 01 | Scotland
Student prince starts university
21 Sep 01 | Scotland
No food at the inn for prince
31 Jan 01 | Scotland
William 'guards' request more cash
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