The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1992Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Commons Statement on the Separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales – 9 December 1992

Below is the text of Mr Major’s Commons statement on the break-up of the Prince and Princess of Wales, made on 9th December 1992.


With permission, Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that Buckingham palace is at this moment issuing the following statement. It reads as follows :

“It is announced from Buckingham Palace that, with regret, the Prince and Princess of Wales have decided to separate. Their Royal Highnesses have no plans to divorce and their constitutional positions are unaffected. This decision has been reached amicably, and they will both continue to participate fully in the upbringing of their children.

Their Royal Highnesses will continue to carry out full and separate programmes of public engagements, and will from time to time attend family occasions and national events together.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, though saddened, understand and sympathise with the difficulties that have led to this decision. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness particularly hope that the intrusions into the privacy of the Prince and Princess may now cease. They believe that a degree of privacy and understanding is essential if Their Royal Highnesses are to provide a happy and secure upbringing for their children, while continuing to give a whole-hearted commitment to their public duties.”

That is the text of the announcement.

I am sure that I speak for the whole House–and millions beyond it–in offering our support to both the Prince and Princess of Wales. I am also sure that the House will sympathise with the wish that they should both be afforded a degree of privacy.

The House will wish to know that the decision to separate has no constitutional implications. The succession to the throne is unaffected by it; the children of the Prince and Princess retain their position in the line of succession; and there is no reason why the Princess of Wales should not be crowned Queen in due course. The Prince of Wales’s succession as head of the Church of England is also unaffected. Neither the Prince nor the Princess is supported by the civil list, and this position will remain unchanged.

I know that there will be great sadness at this news. But I know also that, as they continue with their royal duties and with bringing up their children, the Prince and Princess will have the full support, understanding and affection of the House and of the country.