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Charles happy without Diana, but not with himself

Prince Charles is happier since separating from Princess Diana, but still is burdened by insecurity and self-doubt.

"The trouble is I always feel that unless I rush about doing things and trying to help furiously, I will not (and the monarchy will not) be seen to be relevant and I will be considered a mere playboy," the latest installment of his authorized biography quoted Charles, 45, as writing.

The third and last installment of the biography published in the Sunday Times said Charles intended to become king and was willing to scale down the monarchy when he succeeds Queen Elizabeth II.

In a BBC interview Sunday, author Jonathan Dimbleby said Charles gambled against character assassination by newspapers in cooperating with the biography, in which he acknowledged a miserable marriage and a mistress. "But if he had stayed silent forever . . . he was actually being killed off by the tabloid newspapers," said Dimbleby.

Dimbleby said the 1981 marriage was not simply for convenience and had involved "tenderness, compassion and concern on both sides."

"It is a miracle it lasted as long as it did and it is a tribute to both of them and their sense of responsibility," said Dimbleby. Charles and Diana, 33, separated in 1992.

The biography, Prince of Wales, is regarded by many as Charles' response to a 1992 book written after Diana let friends leak details of the unhappy marriage. Charles is portrayed in the book by Andrew Morton as uncaring, cold and unfaithful.

Morton's follow-up, Diana: Her New Life, is to be published next month, with details in the Sunday Times next week.

Charles arrives in Los Angeles today for a visit. His biography goes on sale Thursday.

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