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Camilla to stay away from Diana memorial

  • Story Highlights
  • Camilla shuns memorial marking 10th anniversary of princess Diana's death
  • She was invited by Princes William and Harry and had initially accepted
  • Camilla feared her presence would divert attention away from Diana's life
  • "It was never going to be an easy decision either way," an aide said
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Camilla, the wife of Britain's Prince Charles, says she will not attend the memorial service marking the 10th anniversary of princess Diana's death this week.

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A decade after Diana's death, Camilla is now an established member of the Royal Family.

Camilla had been invited to attend the ceremony by Princes William and Harry and had initially accepted.

However, Clarence House announced on Sunday that she had decided not to go, fearing that her attendance could divert attention from the purpose of the occasion.

In a statement explaining her decision to pull out, Camilla said: "I'm very touched to have been invited by Prince William and Prince Harry to attend the thanksgiving service for their mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

"I accepted and wanted to support them, however, on reflection I believe my attendance could divert attention from the purpose of the occasion which is to focus on the life and service of Diana.

"I'm grateful to my husband, William and Harry for supporting my decision."

An aide said: "It was never going to be an easy decision either way."

Diana described Camilla as the third person in her marriage to Prince Charles.

A decade after Diana's death, Camilla is Charles's second wife, William and Harry's stepmother, and an established member of the Royal Family.

However, according to one poll, more than half of Britons believed Camilla should not attend the official commemoration.

A survey by ICM for the Daily Mail newspaper revealed that 54 percent felt her presence would be inappropriate under the circumstances.

Women were particularly opposed to Camilla's presence, with 61 percent against.

However, it was William and Harry who had asked the Duchess to be there, according to Clarence House.

Before Sunday's announcement, a spokesman said: "She is attending. She was specifically invited by William and Harry. We announced it in December and it's never been any different."

The memorial service will take place on Friday at the Guards Chapel in London, 10 years to the day after Diana was killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris alongside her lover, Dodi Fayed. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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