LONDON — The scandal surrounding the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales sharpened Sunday when a biographer of Princess Diana reported that the couple will lead separate lives but will not divorce.
Andrew Morton, writing in the Sunday Express, said that Diana, in a "new separation agreement," will spend only enough time with Prince Charles, heir to the throne, to give her two sons "as normal an upbringing as possible."
In the past, Morton has proved to be knowledgeable about the troubled royal marriage. Diana's friends and supporters cooperated with him while he was writing her biography, which was sympathetic to the princess and critical of Charles' alleged deficiencies as a warm and supportive husband.
According to Morton, Diana made a "last effort" to save her marriage by telling her husband she wanted another child, "but her offer to try to patch things up (was) met with indifference."
On Saturday, Charles observed his 44th birthday at his country home while the 31-year-old Diana was on an official visit to France.
For the past week, British tabloid newspapers have covered their front pages with stories of what were reported to be "intimate" tapes of telephone conversations between Charles and 45-year-old Camilla Parker Bowles, the wife of one of Charles' close friends.
The tapes, said to date from December, 1989, and to contain the pair's declarations of love for each other, were quoted in the Daily Mirror, which said they were authentic but did not disclose the source of the material.
Charles was reported to have been speaking from a mobile phone in a private house to Parker Bowles at her home, while her army officer husband, Brig. Andrew Bowles, was in London.
According to biographer Morton, Diana, who was once embittered by Charles' longstanding friendship with Parker Bowles and referred to her as a "Rottweiler," now "no longer cares enough about her husband to be angered by his friendship with Camilla Parker Bowles."
The tapes were reportedly recorded about the same time that another set of tapes was recorded of an alleged conversation of an intimate nature between Diana and a longtime, unmarried friend, James Gilbey.
The reported existence of a "Charles-Camilla tape" led the top-selling Sunday tabloid, the News of the World, to say that Charles was "hopelessly torn" between his devotion to Parker Bowles, a longtime confidant, and his duty to the monarchy and the nation.
And the sensationalist Sun newspaper said Sunday that Charles has told the queen that he will renounce his right to the throne and let his son William become her direct heir.
"Charles: Give my crown to Wills" the Sun declared in a banner headline over a report, citing as its source an unidentified friend of the prince.
The Sunday Mirror declared in an editorial: "The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke recently of the sanctity of marriage. Prince Charles, due to inherit the Queen's title as head of the Church of England, has been having lovey-dovey chats on the telephone with a married woman. Princess Diana has been doing the same with a single man.
"By their actions both are rapidly eroding that trust which the archbishop talked about. That is a tragedy for the royals themselves and a disaster for the country."
In London, two members of Parliament called for an inquiry into their charges that British intelligence services might have been responsible for recording the tape said to involve Charles.
Conservative member Geoffrey Dickens, who said he plans to raise the issue with Prime Minister John Major in the House of Commons, said the recording was of such high quality that a satellite or other sophisticated electronics devices could have been used to make it.