British royal Prince William has been accused of jeopardising the UK's chance of hosting the Olympic Games by refusing to attend a pivotal meeting with Britain's bid team - because he wants to watch a rugby match instead.

The heir-to-the-throne had been asked to show his support by being present at the conference in Singapore (06JUL05), and organisers were confident his influence would be instrumental in London's success.

But royal spokespeople claim the engagement will prove "difficult" for the 22-year-old, because he would rather head to New Zealand to watch the British Lions play than back the London bid.

LABOUR PARTY politician IAN DAVIDSON fumes, "It would appear Prince William has chosen pleasure over duty.

"His absence might cost Britain the Games. That would not set a good precedent for his time as King."

But the royal family insist they will be represented at the meeting by the PRINCESS ROYAL - previously known as PRINCESS ANNE - despite William's rebuttal.

The Prince's communication secretary PADDY HARVERSON says, "He will be looking to support the bid in various ways.

"The royal family will be represented in Singapore by the Princess Royal."

23/05/2005 13:52