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Prince Charles' aides plotted against Diana

world Updated: Aug 19, 2007 15:24 IST

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Aides of the Prince of Wales plotted to damage the reputation of Princess Diana by leaking details of her adultery to justify Charles' public admission that he had embarked on an extra-marital affair with Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall, according to a leading daily.

The Royal staff were determined to establish even after the death of the Princess of Wales that she, rather than her husband, had been the first to commit adultery, The Sunday Telegraph reported in London on Sunday, quoting sources close to the Royal Family as saying.

"Some close to Prince Charles had briefed two authors about Princess Diana's adulterous relationship with Barry Mannakee, her personal protection officer. The first draft of Jonathan Dimbleby's authorised biography of the Prince detailed how Diana became 'too close' to Mannakee.

"In fact, Dimbleby obtained the information for his book The Prince of Wales because Charles sanctioned that long-serving staff, including other protection officers who knew of the affair, could be interviewed by the author and broadcaster," the unnamed sources said.

Yet it was Prince Charles who, after reading the first draft, persuaded Dimbleby to remove some passages relating to the affair as he did not want to distress his sons. However, he didn't dispute the accuracy of what the author had written.

Subsequently the affair was disclosed by Penny Junor in her book Charles: Victim or Villain? published in 1998, a year after Diana's death in a car crash in Paris. "I have received considerable help from senior aides in the Prince's private office," the newspaper quoted the author as saying.

Junor also claimed that a statement put out by Prince Charles' press office nine years ago, days before her book came out, saying that he had not "authorised, solicited or approved" her book was misleading. "The statement was a clever piece of wording. I suspect they knew what I was writing."

However, the sources, who admitted briefing the media about Diana's adultery, said that they wanted the truth to emerge and not to smear her. The admission came days before the tenth death anniversary celebrations of the Princess of Wales slated for later this month.