CLARENCE House took the unusual step yesterday of issuing a categorical denial over reports on Camilla Parker Bowles’s health.
A spokeswoman for the Prince of Wales said rumours which appeared in the online edition of the New York Post yesterday, that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer, were untrue.
"This story is totally false," she said. "There is absolutely no truth in it at all.
"We would not normally comment on this type of rumour, but in this case we felt that it was only right to. It’s totally untrue."
Cindy Adams, a columnist with the New York Post, wrote that "medical circles in London confirmed the diagnosis", and that "Camilla, a long-time smoker, appears to be battling cancer".
In the past, Adams has published claims that Mrs Parker Bowles had not been well but had been forced to say they were only rumours because she could not substantiate them.
Mrs Parker Bowles, 56, who is thought to have smoked since she was aged 15, is understood to have given up the habit, owing to sinus trouble and pressure from Prince Charles.
She has been accepted as Prince Charles’ consort for some time now and it is understood she was present during the interview of Clarence House’s new communications officer, Paddy Harveson.
Adams is known for exclusive celebrity gossip and is said to be on friendly terms with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Liza Minelli.
She tried to give credence to her report on Mrs Parker Bowles’ health by recalling she had previously broken the story of Jackie Onassis’ "terminal diagnosis". Onassis died of cancer in 1994.
Adams first came to prominence in 1979, when she cancelled a dinner with the editor of the New York Post to visit the Shah of Iran, a friend of hers, as he lay dying in hospital.
The editor asked her to write about the Shah for the paper, and the article appeared on the front page. Since then, her columns have been syndicated across the United States. She has also written several books, appears on television and radio, and was a founding member of the US TV show A Current Affair.