Prince may sue over photos with Camilla

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The Prince of Wales is considering legal action over the publication of photographs of him and Camilla Parker-Bowles enjoying a weekend together at a friend's country retreat, Buckingham Palace said yesterday.

A spokeswoman for the Palace said all options were being considered over the pictures in the News of the World, adding: "We are ruling nothing out."

The publication of the photographs of the Prince again raised the question of media intrusion. A week ago the Palace warned four photographers to stay away from the Royal Family's holiday retreat at Balmoral.

The spokeswoman dismissed reports that the paper had been tipped off by a royal source to set up a favourable photo opportunity as "ridiculous". The News of the World in turn was said to have played up the "tip-off" line to deflect accusations of invasion of privacy.

For seasoned royal watchers the timing of the photographs' publication, a few days before the Prince and Princess of Wales's divorce, is not a coincidence.

According to the News of the World, a "well-spoken" woman contacted the newspaper to say that the Prince and Mrs Parker-Bowles would be spending the weekend before last at Glyn Celyn House in Powys, south Wales, home of Mrs Parker-Bowles's former brother-in-law Nic Paravacini and his second wife. His first wife, Mary Ann, is Mrs Parker-Bowles's sister.

The fuzzy photographs show the Prince and Mr Paravacini strolling together, with Mrs Parker-Bowles and Sukie Paravacini some paces behind.

Phil Hall, the paper's editor, said: "The information that led us to secure these pictures is surrounded by intrigue."

The theory in royal-watching circles is that attempts are being made to stage-manage public knowledge of the friendship between the Prince and Mrs Parker-Bowles, so that one day they can appear together openly. Many feel that it is too early for a public demonstration of a relationship which effectively doomed the Prince's marriage from the start.

Another theory is that someone in the Princess's camp tipped-off the newspaper, to show the Prince as "tactless" to be seen with Mrs Parker Bowles just before the divorce.

Most likely, however, is that the house was simply watched by a photographer.