Prince reprimanded over `Palace lies' comments

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The Independent Online
PRINCE ANDREW, who is understood to have been reprimanded by his mother over his comments that Palace officials had lied to the media for the past 20 years, was trying to distance himself yesterday from his impromptu remarks.

The Duke of York, who had spoken informally to reporters during a two- day visit to Malta, said: "The point I was making to journalists was that they should check royal stories before they were written. I wish to confirm that at no stage am I aware of anybody deliberately responding incorrectly to inquiries." The Palace also issued a "clarifying" statement, saying the Duke wished to make clear that the "inference that Palace officials had lied to the media in the past is incorrect".

The Duke's comments were made to journalists after a reception on Thursday. After saying Palace officials had become more relaxed, he said: "The difficulty is trying to convince you that you are being told the truth because for the past 20 years you probably have not been. It's like the Russians."

A Palace spokesman said yesterday that the Duke's remarks showed the Royal Family was now "getting it right".

Some reporters think otherwise about whatever the Palace says. James Whitaker, a royal reporter for The Mirror, said his story that Diana, Princess of Wales was anorexic was denounced by officials and he was told there was no question of divorce between the Princess and the Prince of Wales.

n The Queen Mother has been revealed as an ardent Thatcherite. Lord Wyatt of Weeford, the former Labour MP Woodrow Wyatt, whose diaries were published yesterday, said she told him the Royal Family used to toast Margaret Thatcher after dinner.

John Walsh, Review page 5