The crisis engulfing the White House has forced the Prince of Wales to alter his plans to visit hurricane-ravaged New Orleans over the next week.
A visit to the city was planned by Clarence House and Downing Street to display the compassionate side of the Duchess of Cornwall.
However, the trip has been put on hold by the White House, which is anxious that it may draw attention back to President George Bush's much-criticised response to the Katrina victims.
The New Orleans visit has been left off the itinerary and, if it happens at all, will be little more than a whistle-stop tour.
'Meeting the flood victims would have been the perfect way of showing the warm side of Camilla which so few have so far seen,' said a senior British government source.
After President Bush was portrayed as uncaring in the wake of Katrina, the White House questioned whether the Prince's presence in New Orleans would contrast unfavourably with the President's failure to respond in good time.
'They thought - rightly - that compared to Charles and Camilla, who are so good at expressing concern, the President would look even more unconvincing,' said the source.
Later this week, the royal couple will spend three days in Washington DC. They will go to the White House for a lunch with the President before returning for a state dinner.
'It will be like arriving to stay in the middle of a family row,' said the source. 'I don't think Charles will be embarrassed personally. He has put up with much worse'.
Prince Charles will face further embarrassment on Tuesday when he visits a garden in the Financial District of New York dedicated to the 67 British workers who died when the Twin Towers were toppled by al-Qaeda. Among the British expatriates invited to the ceremony is Tina Brown, who is writing a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales.
The biography, to be published in 2007, will revisit how the Prince's marriage collapsed.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005