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THOUGH HIS REPUTATION IS SULLIED, BRITISH NOT READY TO CHUCK CHUCK

SHARE THOUGH HIS REPUTATION IS SULLIED, BRITISH NOT READY TO CHUCK CHUCK

Prince Charles' relationship with a married woman has sullied the monarchy's reputation but most Britons think he should still become king, according to an opinion poll published Friday.

And a majority of people questioned for the poll in the Daily Express said they would be quite happy for the heir to the throne to marry his friend Camilla Parker-Bowles if he was divorced from his estranged wife Princess Diana.Of those questioned for the survey, seven out of 10 said the publication of an intimate telephone conversation widely held to be between the prince and Parker-Bowles, a married mother of two, had damaged the monarchy.

But 59 percent were in favor of Charles succeeding his mother Queen Elizabeth. About the same number said they would be quite happy for him to marry again if he wished.

Britain's sensationalist tabloids have declared that the highly embarrassing love chat, in which the man said to be the prince declares his ardour in explicit terms, had badly damaged his credibility and put the monarchy's future in doubt.

Neither the prince nor his friend, whom he has known for 20 years, has denied the tape is genuine.

But the poll discloses a bedrock of support for the system of constitutional monarchy and suggests that ordinary people are not as outraged at the thought of their future king indulging in extra-marital activities as the popular press appears to be.

The telephone poll was conducted Jan. 19 and 20.