Candid Prince has 'no regrets'

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THE PRINCE of Wales has no regrets about participating in Wednesday's candid television documentary, according to aides. There has been mixed reaction among church leaders and politicians to his involvement in the programme, particularly to his frank admission of adultery. The media was more or less unanimous in its hostility.

The former Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker, said the Prince should have refused to answer questions about his private life. There was a 'role of reticence', he said, for the future King. Jim Thompson, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was more conciliatory: 'I feel that he has, in a very important act of honesty, said to people, 'this is who I am'.'

The former Tory minister Lord St John of Fawsley, a constitutional expert, said: 'He has put himself on judgement before the fairest jury in the world, namely the British people . . . and I think his confidence will be justified.' Commander Richard Aylard, Prince Charles's private secretary, said yesterday that the Prince had no regrets about his participation in the programme. 'He went into it with his eyes open,' he said. 'We think it was a rounded and balanced portrait of a man we know and work for.'

The general public do not seem to share the media's hostility to the Prince; 80,000 viewers called GMTV, the breakfast television station, yesterday to participate in a poll. Of those 85 per cent said that he was fit to be King.

The documentary was watched by 12.7 million people - 63 per cent of Wednesday night's television audience.

Downing Street officials last night said divorce would not bar Prince Charles from becoming King, confirming the view of senior Tory MPs that it is now only a matter of time before the Prince of Wales seeks a divorce.

The Prime Minister's office yesterday quoted the Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood: 'Marital status does not affect the succession to the throne and hence the title of Supreme Governor.'

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