LONDON -- Princess Diana alluded publicly to her separation from Prince Charles for the first time as she pledged to continue her charity work, despite the 'uncertainties of the last few weeks.'
The comments came Tuesday as the British public and press continued to speculate on the impact the separation of the prince and princess of Wales will have on the monarchy.
Prime Minister John Major, who announced the split last Wednesday, said the arrangement would not affect Charles' position as heir to the throne and future head of the Church of England and would not prevent the immensely popular Diana from becoming queen consort. However, there has been increasing speculation the couple will divorce and that neither will ever be crowned.
Princess Diana reaffirmed her commitment to charity Tuesday at a conference in London organized by Turning Point, a charity that helps recovering alcoholics and drug abusers. Diana, 31, has been patron of the organization for five years.
'Your patron has never been happier to see you,' she told the conference.
'Whatever uncertainties the last few weeks may have brought, I want you to be certain of this -- our work together will continue unchanged, especially now as Christmas brings its own painful stresses to so many people, the lonely, the confused and the simply unloved.'
Despite the separation, Princess Diana is expected to join the rest of the royal family for Christmas at Sandringham, a royal residence. However, she reportedly will be sharing a lodge on the estate with the duchess of York, instead of being housed with the rest of the family.
The duchess, popularly known as 'Fergie' from her maiden name Sarah Ferguson, is separated from her husband, Prince Andrew. Palace hopes for a reconciliation were dashed by the publication of photos showing the topless duchess kissing and cuddling her 'financial adviser,' John Bryan.
Meanwhile, police caught an intruder late Monday night on the grounds of Kensington Palace, Princess Diana's London home. Her two sons, Prince William, 10, and Prince Harry, 8, have been staying there on their Christmas vacation from boarding school.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said police arrested a man at 10:10 p.m. Monday on the grounds of the palace. Police cautioned him for being drunk and disorderly and released him at 2 a.m. Tuesday.
The intruder was not found anywhere near the royal quarters. 'He was not near the secure area,' the spokesman said.