the rival camps:

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The Princess of Wales

Prince Charles, on account of his position, has supporters throughout the Establishment. The Princess, however, has to woo them with her charm, glamour and charity work.

The Labour peeress Baroness Jay, who came out in support of Diana in the BBC's Newsnight following Panorama, for example, was won over by her work with Aids sufferers in the mid-Eighties. The former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and Baroness Chalker, Minister for Overseas Development, are great admirers of her ambassadorial skills. Hurd went out of his way to promote and support her ambition to travel abroad more after she had separated from her husband. Chalker, too, is a powerful lobbyist for her trips abroad.

The Princess also has the friendship of a host of influential media people. It is widely thought that her strong relationship with Sir David English, chairman of Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail, may have been responsible for his appointment of the royal reporter Richard Kay as Diana's "friend". That Kay and the Princess had an unusually close relationship was demonstrated during the Oliver Hoare telephone episode, when the Princess was photographed getting into Kay's car.

Through her friendship with Rosa Monckton, managing director of Tiffany's, the upmarket jeweller, the Princess became friends with Dominic Lawson, formerly editor of the Spectator and now editor of the Sunday Telegraph, which was sympathetic towards the Princess at the weekend. The Princess is godmother to the Lawsons' latest baby, born with Down's syndrome.

Auberon Waugh, editor of the Literary Review, is a fan, as is William Rees-Mogg, a comment writer for the Times, who sang her praises on the radio on Monday night. Lord Stevens, proprietor of the Express, and Lady Stevens bring up the rear.

A more significant PR role perhaps has been played by both Lord Palumbo and Sir Gordon Reece, Baroness Thatcher's former press secretary. They are thought to advise the Princess on her image and presentation. She is known to lunch with the Australian TV personality Clive James on a regular basis, and this past week she has been sporting a Virgin sweatshirt, no doubt as a tribute to her good relations with Richard Branson.

Other supporters include her long-term friends Carolyn Bartholomew, the Tatler columnist, and Lucia Flecha de Lima, wife of the Brazilian ambassador to the United States. Last, but certainly not least, is Lord Mishcon, Labour peer and senior partner at the top London solicitors Mishcon de Reya. If the Waleses divorce, you can be sure he will be at the heart of the case.

The Prince of Wales

The Princess calls them the enemy. They are the Royal Household and the Prince has their undivided support. In the corridors of power in the royal palaces the keenest lobbyists on his behalf are the Queen Mother and Lady Susan Hussey, lady-in-waiting to the Queen and the wife of the chairman of the BBC's governors, Marmaduke. (This may explain Buckingham Palace's anger at the BBC for reportedly going behind their boss's back to stage the interview with the Princess.) He also has the backing of most of the royal relations, particularly that of his close friends Lord and Lady Romsey. His former equerry, Nicholas Soames, now a government minister, is a leading advocate in public.

His private secretary, Commander Richard Aylard, is perhaps his closest adviser and mentor. It was Aylard who recommended that the Prince should do last year's controversial television interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, for which Dimbleby was criticised for being too blatantly pro-Prince.

Old Etonian and Friends of the Earth director Sir Jonathon Porritt is another useful ally. Yesterday morning he was wheeled out on the BBC's Today programme in support of the Prince's claim to the throne. His clout in environmental matters is a tremendous help to the Prince, who, as everybody knows, is an ardent conservationist and traditionalist.

Of his international peers, his relationship with King Hussein of Jordan is perhaps the strongest.

As the Prince of Wales he can rely on the machinery of the Palace to support him in a way that the Princess cannot. Charles Anson, the Queen's press secretary, is in his camp, although he was rumoured to be displeased with the Prince for consenting to the Dimbleby project.

The Prince is not as close to traditional-style courtiers such as county lord lieutenants as his predecessors. He has deliberately wooed a new court of artistic friends and mentors such as Sir Hugh Casson, the philosopher Laurens van der Post, the actor John Wells, and the Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes. (In his autobiography, the late Robert Stephens told how he had bumped into John Wells on a train going to Sandringham. Neither had wanted to say they were visiting the Prince until they got out and realised they were both house guests.)

These friends are obviously less empowered to come out in support of the Prince in a time of crisis. They are not Establishment figures like the Princess's group. And the Prince's very closest friends, who include Emily Van Cutsem and, most famously, Camilla Parker- Bowles, must stay quietest of all.