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Prince Charles, Camilla Go Public

January 29, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Pictures of Princes Charles with longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles grabbed the front pages in Britain today, the kind of frantic coverage once generated by Princess Diana.

The couple deliberately raised their public profile Thursday night by emerging together from a birthday party for Mrs. Parker Bowles’ sister at the Ritz Hotel.

Masses of photographers, many of whom had staked out their positions the day before, waited eagerly across the road.

Two minutes before midnight, the prince and Mrs. Parker Bowles walked down the stairs together, and hesitated briefly at the curb as their car pulled up. She climbed into the back seat on the left side, he went around to the right and climbed in beside her, and the car drove them away.

The Sun (headline: ``Meet the Mistress″) devoted its first five pages to the event, as did The Mirror (``At Last!″)

``He doesn’t have to woo Camilla. It is the British people who must be won over,″ The Mirror commented.

The Independent, with extraordinary coyness, ran a front-page picture of the ladders set up by photographers outside the Ritz. The caption said the occasion was ``the 50th birthday of Annabel Elliot, an art dealer,″ and didn’t mention that she was Mrs. Parker Bowles’ sister.

Diana, who was divorced from Charles in 1996 and died the following year, had considered Mrs. Parker Bowles the reason her marriage broke down.

David Starkey, honorary lecturer in history at the London School of Economics, commented that the photograph was ``purely a question of politics.″

``They have finally managed to appease the ghost of Diana,″ Starkey said.

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