News of the World editor Andy Coulson’s very public criticism of St James’s Palace for not keeping its part in the agreement to leave the royal princes alone in return for organised press facilities has swiftly borne fruit.
Andrew Pierce’s column in The Times on Wednesday revealed that Prince William is to be given a higher public profile to mark his 21st birthday. This seems a complete about-turn, as the Palace had intimated that there would be no press facilities for his birthday and that William was not willing to participate.
Coulson made his views known on Tuesday when he was questioned by the select committee looking into media intrusion. He was asked about pictures in the NoW on Sunday showing Prince William out and about in his university town of St Andrews.
Describing the pictures as “charming”, he said: “An agreement has to be two-way. Since the agreement there has been very little in the way of material from the Palace. The spirit of the agreement was that on a regular basis we would have material.”
The Palace made its disapproval of the pictures felt on Sunday in discussions with the PCC but made no complaint. Whatever behind-the-scenes discussions have taken place since Sunday, coupled with Coulson’s frustration at the agreement, seem to have achieved a breakthrough in favour of the press.
The Palace seems to have realised it is in an untenable position and has moved fast to fix the rift between it and the press.
By Jean Morgan