pounds 17m divorce for Charles and Diana

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The Independent Online
The Prince and Princess of Wales will begin divorce proceedings on Monday to end their 15-year marriage, lawyers announced yesterday after months of wrangling over a financial settlement.

Official confirmation of an agreement, technically confidential but likely to be worth at least pounds 15m and possibly up to pounds 17m, cleared the way for a divorce by consent after the two-year separation required by current law, to be finalised on 28 August. The Queen is likely to pick up the lion's share of the financial burden.

Simultaneous statements by Buckingham Palace and the couple's lawyers were ready for release as soon as Nelson Mandela's state visit, which took in Prince's Trust schemes in Brixton, south London, officially ended. While the Princess will lose the title Her Royal Highness and will in future be known as Diana, Princess of Wales, the statement from the Palace underlined that her role as the mother of the heir to the Throne has ensured she will still be regarded as a member of the Royal Family.

The couple have agreed on equal access to their sons, Prince William, 14, and Prince Harry, 11.

The Princess will retain her insignia, orders and other titles and receive, from time to time, invitations to state and national public occasions. She will also retain her apartments at Kensington Palace, but loses office at St James' Palace.

Alongside the lump sum, which could produce an annual income for the Princess of at least pounds 1m on top of her own estimated investment income of approximately pounds 250,000, some pounds 400,000 a year will be provided to run her private office at Kensington Palace.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said he was "pleased that the inevitable strain and uncertainty" of the negotiations was now over.

Cold truce, pages 4 and 5

Saturday Story, page 16

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