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New Book Casts Shadow Over Diana

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are jointly denying that they cooperated in a new book that contains damaging allegations about Princess Diana, reports CBS News Correspondent Maggie Cooper.

Almost as soon as Charles: Victim or Villain? hit the stands, the fallout began to reverberate through Britain.

Among the controversial claims made in the new biography are suggestions that it was Diana, not Charles, who first committed royal adultery.

The alleged affair was with her then-bodyguard Sergeant Barry Mannakee. Diana supporters call the claim absurd and say that the princess always saw him as a father figure. Mannakee isn't around to confirm or deny the claim; he has since died in a motorcycle accident.

Perhaps even more shocking is the author's claim that the princess telephoned Camilla Parker Bowles, saying she sent someone to kill her.

CBS News Correspondent Maggie Cooper Reports.

"I think it's absolutely disgusting that they choose to vilify the name of the late Princess of Wales, who cannot answer back, in an attempt to rehabilitate the tattered prince at 50," said royal biographer Anthony Holden.

In another of the book's revelations, author Penny Junor writes that the Queen was opposed to bringing Diana's body back to Britian in a royal aircraft until a most senior aide suggested that the alternative might be a Harrods van.

Tuesday, in an unprecedented move, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles issued a joint statement denying any involvement.

"St. James Palace is trying to distance itself and pretend it was not involved," said Holden. "But it's clear a lot of the information had to come from people very close to Prince Charles, including his staff."

The prince's 50th birthday is coming up Nov. 14, and his critics charge that the publicity is an effort to bolster his image and get his side of the story out.

Junor, 48, became close to Prince Charles when she wrote her first book on him 10 years ago. She is seen in Britain as extremely partisan. Her son Jack, 13, attends school with Prince Harry.

The Mail on Sunday reportedly paid Junor about $850,000 for the serialization rights to the book.

Though many decry this latest round in the "War of the Waleses," the truth is, Charles and Diana still sell newspapers.

While Charles' mistress may also sell newspapers, she is far less popular than Diana.

According to a readers poll taken by th British Sun tabloid, 83 percent of their readers reject any idea of Camilla Parker Bowles ever becoming queen. A total of 75 percent of Britons nationally are against the idea of Parker Bowles ever sitting next to Charles on the throne.

Reported by Maggie Cooper
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