The Panorama drama: Central figure and the six key players

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Lord Wakeham

Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. The former Government cabinet minister is an outspoken advocate of the need for the Royal Family to be protected from unwarranted media protection. Writing in yesterday's Mail on Sunday, he effectively said that the Princess of Wales may have put herself beyond the protection of the PCC. His threat that public figures "must bear the consequences of

their actions" is a clear indication that he may have come to the conclusion

(as his predecessor, Lord McGregor, had) that Britain's Royal Family can be the manipulators as well as the manipulated.

Palace press office The House of Windsor PR job is now a poisoned chalice. The Princess of Wales's own press secretary, Geoff Crawford, was seconded from Buckingham Palace to do the job at Kensington Palace for her. The former Australian diplomat aparently knew nothing of Panorama and the Princess's deal. After a pre-arranged visit with her to Argentina, Mr Crawford will resume his duties as the Queen's deputy press secretary at Buckingham Palace. A spokesman at the palace said yesterday that they could not comment on the matter.

Prince Charles

Estranged husband and heir to the throne. Just more than 18 months ago, he bared his soul (and admitted adultery) in 180 hours of taped interviews with Jonathan Dimbleby which were then diplomatically woven into an ITV documentary. His wife's decision to court public sympathy in tonight's programme may be a direct consequence of this action. On a four-day visit to Germany last week while celebrating his 47th birthday he was said to be "spitting tacks" at the news of his wife's turn at televised royal revelation.

Marmaduke Hussey

Chairman of the BBC's board of governors. Will issue a statement tonight immediately after the Panorama programme is broadcast. Said to be very angry over being kept in the dark over the interview, which only eight people within the BBC have seen. Hussey issued a statement last week, stating: "The governors cannot judge a programme or the context in which it has been made until after it has been screened." However, intervention is not unknown to the man in charge of the BBC for the past nine years. Known as "Dukey", his wife, Lady Susan, is a lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Martin Bashir

BBC television interviewer. More used to investigating Terry Venables's business ventures than conducting a royal chit-chat, Mr Bashir has pulled off the coup that every host from Sir David Frost to Oprah Winfrey had coveted. The 32-year-old father-of-two was said to be investigating the role of the security services in monitoring certain members of the Royal Family. His charm helped persuade the Princess of Wales that she could do business with Mr Bashir and his immediate boss, Panorama's editor, Steve Hewlett, revealed in the People yesterday to be a former Marxist. Mr Bashir is now rumoured for higher things in the BBC .

Angela Serota

The Go-Between. The wife of the Tate gallery director, Nicholas Serota. Although the Princess of Wales was described in some reports yesterday as a "television natural" there will have been the need for someone to help broker the secret deal with Panorama : step forward Angela or "Dame A" as she is apparently called in the Princess's circle of friends. She shares a common passion - dance - with the Princess. Gave her emotional support during the split with Prince Charles.

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