The Royals and the Press: Events that charted breakdown of a marriage

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The Independent Online
February and April 1991: Stories in the Daily Mail and Daily Express highlight strains in the marriage.

May 1991: Lord Rothermere, proprietor of Associated Newspapers, tells Lord McGregor, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, that the Prince and Princess have 'recruited' rival newspaper groups to carry their versions of the marital breakdown.

July 1991: Stories in the tabloid press criticising the Prince of Wales for failing to organise a 30th birthday party for his wife lead to a front-page story in the Daily Mail which says that the Prince did offer to hold a party but was turned down. A similar battle is fought out in the press over the couple's celebration of their 10th anniversary.

November 1991: Today newspaper reports that the couple spend very few nights together.

December 1991: As reports circulate about the imminent publication of Andrew Morton's book on Princess Diana, Lord McGregor confides his fears about the situation to the then Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker, and to John Major's press secretary, Gus O'Donnell.

February 1992: The couple undertake a joint tour of India, where media attention focuses on their separate engagements and on the spectacle of the Princess visiting the Taj Mahal alone.

March 1992: The Sun and the News of the World run stories about men to whom 'lonely Di' has allegedly turned for comfort.

May 1992: Details of the Morton book begin to appear in the press, including the Princess's alleged suicide attempts. The Daily Mirror runs a story saying that she did not co-operate.

June 1992: Serialisation of the book in the Sunday Times leads to an emergency meeting of the PCC and a strongly-worded statement condemning press coverage of the affair. The PCC was assured by the Queen's private secretary, Sir Robert Fellowes, and press secretary Charles Anson that the Princess had not been involved in leaking information about the state of her marriage to the press.

Andrew Knight, chief executive of News International, tells Lord McGregor that the Princess is co- operating with the newspaper group with photo opportunities. Sir Robert apologises to Lord McGregor and says that his assurance was given in good faith.

July 1992: Today newspaper runs a long article by Penny Junor portraying the Prince as a wronged man who is too honourable to counter the allegations made in Morton's book.

August 1992: An intimate taped telephone conversation, allegedly between the Princess and a male friend whom she calls 'Squidgy', surfaces.

September 1992: Reports circulate of another taped conversation, this time between the Prince and Camilla Parker Bowles.

December 1992: Lord McGregor writes to Sir David Calcutt outlining the events of past two years.

(Photograph omitted)