Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Prince Charles does the right thing by Harry"

At the PR Week awards last year, the winner of the prestigious PR Professional of the Year gong was Mark Bolland. Most people won't have heard of him, and so keen was he to avoid publicity that he didn't turn up to collect his award. Since then, he has faced some very hostile coverage in the Daily Mail and Telegraph - mainly, it seems, because he is so good at his job. That job is spin-doctor to Prince Charles. Bolland has had the unenviable task of making a man who talks to flowers and looks like he lives on a different planet seem normal. His handling of the "Harry is a pot-smoking drunk" story was masterful. Some people may think that he learnt his trade from Peter Mandelson, mainly because that's what Mandy tells everyone. The truth is, they fell out years ago, when Mandelson was first forced to resign. From that day, Mandy has been shunned by the royal family, who know a "bad egg" when they see one.

All the stories on how Prince Charles decided to "come clean" about Harry and the drugs were dictated to the grateful royal hacks by Bolland. He was desperate for his man to be seen as a good father, and was happy to give the journalists all the lurid details of Harry's drug-taking den in "Club H". Tony Blair, never one to miss out on a good story, used his Breakfast with Frost interview to praise Prince Charlie - though not before checking what the media were saying. Bolland even persuaded Guy Black, the director of the Press Complaints Commission, who happens to be his partner, to put out a statement forbidding any further intrusion into Harry's life at Eton. The whole episode was a triumph, only Bolland had not realised that any boy found to have taken drugs at Eton is expelled. The rule was soon changed to any boy except a prince.