London: British Prime Minister Tony Blair urged people to leave Prince William and Kate Middleton alone amid feverish speculation as to the reasons behind their shock split.
Blair said most of the stories written about the demise of their four-year relationship would be “complete nonsense,” as British newspapers picked over the bones of their break-up, with conflicting accounts as to why they parted.
The split between the dashing prince, second in line to the throne, and his university sweetheart was given blanket coverage in Britain’s press.
“I think, in respect of Prince William, they are a young couple. We have had the announcement, fine,” Blair told BBC television — though Clarence House, the royal residence which handles the prince’s affairs, has refused to confirm or deny the break-up.
“They should be left alone now without reams of stuff being written that I can assure you, from my experience of royal stories, most of which will be complete nonsense.”
The News of the World tabloid said the end of the romance was decided at a gathering of “The Firm” — the mafia-style nickname for the senior royals.
The newspaper said army officer William, 24, told his family that Middleton, a 25-year-old clothes buyer for a fashion firm, wanted more from their relationship but he did not want to commit.
That prompted his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II to intervene and her husband Prince Philip — the member of The Firm in charge of family business — to tell him: “You can’t string her along for ever.”
“Don’t rush down the aisle — we don’t want another Diana,” Queen Elizabeth was said to have told him, referring to the first marriage of William’s father Prince Charles to his mother Lady Diana Spencer, which ended in divorce in 1996.
A senior royal courtier was quoted as saying: “It’s clear the queen doesn’t want William to go through a carbon copy rerun of his father, marrying the wrong woman.”
But according to The Sunday Telegraph, it was Charles who told his eldest son to reach a “make or break” decision.
The Mail on Sunday said William decided to end it because he felt the “fun” had gone from their relationship.
There were also underlying tensions among William’s set about her middle-class upbringing, it added. Middleton’s parents made their fortune in the children’s party paraphernalia business.
Like a number of newspapers, The Mail on Sunday said things came to a head three weeks ago after pictures appeared of a drunken William partying with army colleagues and several women in a nightclub.
Top British publicist Max Clifford said the pair’s next lovers will get “massive media coverage”.
William would be in “an impossible position” as women — some genuine, some not — line up to be his next girlfriend, whereas Middleton’s next boyfriend would get “a massive amount of attention”.