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Biography Reveals Charles' Affairs With Old Flame : Britain: The prince turned to Camilla Parker-Bowles for third time when his marriage broke down, book says.

October 24, 1994|WILLIAM TUOHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONDON — Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had three affairs with Camilla Parker-Bowles over a 20-year period, according to excerpts from his authorized biography published here Sunday.

Charles also initiated the separation from his wife, Princess Diana, two years ago because he thought he was being denied access to his two sons, William and Harry.

The revelations published in the London Sunday Times were contained in journalist Jonathan Dimbleby's book on the prince, who reportedly cooperated with Dimbleby's research and gave approval to friends to talk to the writer.

The book says that Charles had an affair with Camilla Shand in 1972 when she was single and he was a 23-year-old naval officer. The romance ended when he was on an eight-month cruise on his warship and she decided to marry an army officer, Andrew Parker-Bowles.

The Charles-Camilla romance resumed in the late 1970s, according to Dimbleby, and ended only when he became engaged to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

The prince once again turned to his old flame at the end of 1986 when his marriage to Diana had "irretrievably broken down" because of what he considered her difficult, neurotic personality, Dimbleby writes.

Charles was said to have made it clear that he was not unfaithful with any other woman.

Among the revelations in the excerpts were the prince's avowal that he has never considered giving up his succession to the throne and that the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, believes Charles can become king even if he divorces and remarries.

"Not once," says the account, "even in moments of despair over his personal life and the media coverage of it, did he contemplate surrendering what he has always thought to be an inescapable duty, nor has he ever favored abdication."

The book points out Charles' insecurity as a young man. His first serious romance was with Lucia Santa Cruz, whom he met at Cambridge University and who introduced him to Camilla Shand.

"With that self-doubt and sensitivity which made him so beguiling to women," Dimbleby writes, "he had already confided to his intimates that he could not conceive that anyone he might hope to marry would want to marry him.

"In Camilla Shand, however, he dared to hope that he had stumbled across a resolution to that conundrum."

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the prince now regrets his decision to cooperate with Dimbleby on the authorized biography.

Charles was said to be concerned that the views expressed in the book by members of his circle or by Dimbleby are being mistaken for his own--especially those about his relations with his parents and his wife.

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