Prince Charles has dumped his long-time lover, Camilla Parker-Bowles, so he can remain a contender for the crown, the British newspapers and radio reported yesterday.
"If she has him, he can't have the crown," palace sources told the New York Daily News. "And she would never allow anything to take that away from him. She loves him too much."
That doesn't mean Prince Charles, 45, plans to reconcile with Princess Diana. The royal couple has been separated for a year, and sources told the Daily News that Prince Charles will seek a no-fault divorce from Prince Diana by next December.
In splitting with Ms. Parker-Bowles, Prince Charles was motivated to return to the good graces of Queen Elizabeth and the British public to help ensure his ascendancy to the throne.
After the transcripts of his raunchy telephone talk with Ms. Parker-Bowles were published last year and his marriage with Princess Diana unravelled, Prince Charles' popularity plummeted. Suddenly, there was speculation that he might renounce Ms. Parker-Bowles.
Earlier, the Observer newspaper had declared that Prince Charles "doesn't really want to be king," while the Sunday Telegraph said he "wants to reign so badly he'll be celibate to win public confidence."
Now it appears that the Telegraph was right and Prince Charles, who has known Ms. Parker-Bowles since they were young, is more enchanted with becoming king of England.
"It's over with Camilla," proclaimed the News of the World yesterday. "The prince and his married confidante have made a pact not to see or even speak to each other."
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment.