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Diana to Lose Title but Get Millions in Royal Divorce

Britain: Prince Charles and his estranged wife agree on terms. The decree will be final Aug. 28.

July 13, 1996| From Reuters

LONDON — Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced Friday that they have agreed on terms of a divorce that will strip Diana of her royal title but award her a settlement rumored to include a lump sum of $25 million.

Lawyers for the couple said divorce proceedings will begin Monday and the decree will be final Aug. 28, ending a nearly 15-year marriage that once thrilled the world but ended in bitter public wrangling.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said the princess, who once stood to become queen, will no longer be addressed as "Her Royal Highness" and will in future be known as Diana, Princess of Wales.

She will also relinquish service appointments, including her role as colonel in chief of two Canadian regiments.

The loss of the royal title was clearly a blow for Diana, putting her on the same level as the Duchess of York, the divorced wife of Charles' brother Prince Andrew, and meaning technically that she might have to curtsy to her sons, Prince William, 14, and Prince Harry, 11.

After the divorce, Diana, who has always been far more popular than her husband, the heir to the throne, will no longer be a member of the royal family. But she will be "regarded" as such by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, the palace statement said.

It shed no light on the financial terms of the settlement, saying they remained confidential. But newspaper accounts have said Diana will receive a lump sum of about $25 million.

The Sun newspaper said that in addition to the lump sum, Diana will receive about $600,000 a year to run her private office.

During her lifetime, Diana will keep the jewelry and family heirlooms she was given as Princess of Wales, but, according to tradition, they will be passed down and kept within the royal family.

Buckingham Palace said the princess will retain her apartments in Kensington Palace in central London and will be allowed to entertain guests in St. James Palace, attend some royal functions and use aircraft of the royal squadron.

Diana will still hold an important position as mother of the country's future king, Prince William, and Prince Harry, third in line to the throne after Charles and William. The lawyers' statement said the couple will share equal responsibility in the upbringing of the children.

The divorce terms are believed to include clauses barring the couple from commenting on any aspect of the deal.

Diana, who said it was the saddest day of her life when the couple decided to divorce, has been separated from 47-year-old Charles for more than two years.

The divorce will not change Charles' position as supreme governor of the Church of England, Britain's state religion, and will not affect his right to be king.

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