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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Adultery: Charles Said to Confess

LONDON -- Prince Charles ignited a royal adultery sensation Tuesday, with news reports saying he has confessed to a television interviewer that he cheated on his wife Diana when their romance turned sour. The heir to the British throne's reported acknowledgement of adultery hit the front pages and topped news bulletins after highlights of an "explosive" television profile became public. Headlines like "Royal Sensation. Charles: I cheated on Diana" and "Charles: I had an affair" blared out from every newsstand after key quotes were leaked from the interview with the prince. In a feature-length documentary to be screened Wednesday, the prince was said to confirm for the first time his long-rumored infidelity with Camilla Parker-Bowles, the "other woman" cited in a love tape scandal last year. According to the reports, the prince was asked by interviewer Jonathan Dimbleby if he had stuck to the vows of fidelity he made to Diana at their televised wedding pageant in London's St. Paul's Cathedral nearly 13 years ago. "Yes," he replied, but added after a pause, "until it became clear that the marriage had irretrievably broken down." The prince did not specify the point of breakdown. But royalty reporters say the couple had not shared a bed for up to five years before their official separation in December 1992. The so-called Camillagate tape, purportedly recording the prince in lewd love talk with his mistress, dates from 1989 when Charles and Diana were at crisis point in their marriage. The prince's unprecedented frankness whipped up a frenzy of debate about whether a cheating husband was a fitting successor to Queen Elizabeth as head of the monarchy and the Church of England, the country's official Christian faith. On the same program, the prince, 45, was reported as wishing to reform the links between church and crown in a move some see as inspired by his failed marriage. Central Television, which produced the documentary to mark the 25th anniversary of the royal heir's investiture as Prince of Wales, neither confirmed nor denied the attributed quotes and said the contents would not be released until Wednesday. Buckingham Palace made no immediate comment, having adopted a "wait and see" approach to the bombshell interview. Press royal-watchers called the interview an enormous public relations gamble for the prince, who appears to be betting that an honest acknowledgement of "human frailty" could revive his reputation despite raising questions about his moral stature. In the industrial Scottish town of Motherwell, the prince's reported admission of adultery did not appear to trouble people who turned out to meet him Tuesday. "I think he should be king. There is trouble in every walk of life, and it should be private, not made public," said David Hooper, 78, one of 400 people who saw Charles at the Forgewood housing estate, 19 kilometers southeast of Glasgow. "We didn't ask him about Camilla, and it doesn't bother me," said Lyn Collins, 31, who brought her 18-month-old daughter, Laura, along to meet the prince. "It's up to him," she said. "I think he should be king -- why not?" Charles and Diana, who will celebrate her 33rd birthday Friday, have two sons, Prince William, 12, and Prince Harry, 9. A prince's infidelity is no bar to the throne and British history is full of adulterous kings. One of Charles' ancestors, King Henry I, had at least 20 illegitimate children by six different mistresses. A clip of the documentary shown Tuesday to promote the program featured the interviewer asking Charles if the breakdown of his marriage had damaged him and his image. "Well, obviously I don't recommend it to anybody," the prince says. (Reuters, AP)