Major backs Diana

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THE Prime Minister has lent strong support to the Princess of Wales's campaign to be given a new public role in her own right, writes Graham Ball.

In an interview on BBC radio yesterday Mr Major made it clear that he regarded the question of the future status of the estranged wife of Prince Charles as a high priority.

"As the mother of a future king, the Princess of Wales must have a role in public life and, as I see it, will always have a role," he told James Naughtie of Radio 4's Today programme.

"It needs to be a dignified role and ... a worthwhile role and we will need to examine with the Princess of Wales precisely what that should be," said Mr Major, who stopped short of providing any description of what her new duties might entail.

He did, however, underline his commitment to her cause by indicating that her future status should be independent of her relationship with Prince Charles.

He confirmed that the Government, the Royal Family and the Princess would jointly decide the question on the basis of what would be best for all the parties and what would be best for the country.

"I see the monarchy as a permanent, entrenched part of British life and I believe that that is the view of most people in this country," he added.