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PRINCE WILLIAM WANTS LIFE OF COMMONER, NOT THRONE

Prince William, heir to Britain's throne after his father, has shocked his parents by announcing he does not want to be king, a British newspaper said Sunday.

But the Sunday Mirror said Prince Charles was taking the 13-year-old's statement calmly and his estranged wife, Princess Diana, was trying to win her son over by "gentle persuasion."The newspaper, quoting friends of the princess, said William had told his parents he wanted a "normal life" and also that he wanted to break with the family tradition of joining the navy.

Diana, enmeshed in a bitter divorce wrangle with Charles, had advised William to "wait and see," hoping that it was an adolescent phase he would outgrow.

Diana has in the past suggested that Charles should renounce his claim to the throne if he wants to marry his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles and make way for William.

The Sunday Mirror quoted a friend of Charles as saying: "Charles does not regard this as any kind of constitutional crisis at this stage. He hopes this is just a phase William is going through."

But a friend of Diana said: "William is exceptionally mature for his age. He really knows his own mind," according to the newspaper.

Buckingham Palace aides were unavailable for comment.

But, in another report likely to fuel the controversy surrounding the British royal family, the Sunday Times said Prime Minister John Major had delivered an oblique warning to Charles.

The newspaper said Major, in a program for the BBC to be broadcast Wednesday, described as "odd" Charles' stated desire to be seen as a defender for all religions in Britain.

In a key interview with broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby two years ago, Charles expressed his desire to be seen as "defender of faith" rather than "defender of the faith," as the sovereign is known as the head of the Church of England.