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Prince William to Turn 18 Next Week; Buckingham Palace Fears Media Onslaught

Aired June 16, 2000 - 1:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Britain's Prince Charles (sic) celebrates his 18th birthday next week. The international media can hardly wait, but a battle royale is shaping up between the palace and the paparazzi.

Here's CNN's Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prince William, that's him on the right, enjoying a cookery class, looks relaxed. But by releasing these carefully controlled pictures, Buckingham Palace intends to do more than give the world a glimpse of the future king of England. When he turns 18 next week, his privacy, protected as a child, ends and the royal family fears a media onslaught into his private life.

SALLY CARTWRIGHT, "HELLO" MAGAZINE: Buckingham Palace very much wants to protect and shield Prince William for the next few years because they saw how his mother was harried and persecuted. They saw the effect it had on her and they want to prevent that happening from him.

ROBERTSON (on camera): British officials are drafting new press guidelines for the prince, but few journalists expect they will shield the world's most eligible bachelor from the worldwide paparazzi, hungry for the shot that will bring the lucky photographer fame and fortune.

CARTWRIGHT: While we may just about be able to exercise self- censorship in this country, there will be a worldwide market, for instance, of a picture of Prince William with his first girlfriend, and any photographer who got one would be able to make a very great deal of money.

GERVASE WEBB, "EVENING STANDARD": But the first sign of any girlfriend, and that's going to be: the gloves are off, and it's going to be an absolute bun fight, I think.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Restraint by the media, if any is shown, will have to be voluntary. For now, however, he does seem to have the support of his future subjects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he should be given the freedom to go out, make mistakes, date the wrong girls, get too drunk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the media should stay away, let him enjoy his life rather than being in the camera.

ROBERTSON: Not so simple, say the experts.

GERVASE: And everyone will tut tut and say, "oh, it's disgraceful, the intrusion into their lives," but it's a matter of fact that any newspaper with Diana on the front cover when she was alive, their sales went up. People just can't get enough of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For now, it seems, along with the inherited good looks, the young prince is left his mother's legacy of a life of press intrusion.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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