The press goes prince-hunting
When Diana died, they promised to leave ‘her boys’ in peace. They lied, says adam macqueen
A couple stand on the deck of their sun-drenched yacht. Her curves are the subject of speculation, appreciation. Her companion is more paunchy, his hair thinning, but the papers still say he is a "hunk". "Onlookers", we are told, believe the royal half of the couple "has never looked so relaxed and happy."
The Caribbean in 2006, or the Med in 1997? The similarities between last week's long-lens snaps of Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton, and those of his mother and Dodi Fayed - which sold for record fees a month before their deaths - were startling. Both were sold by one man: Jason Fraser.
If the pictures kick sand in the face of the Press Complaints Commission code, they trample all over the following: "the proprietor of the Daily Mail announced that he will not in future purchase pictures taken by paparazzi"; "the Mirror will work quickly with the PCC to protect her boys from intrusive paparazzi"; "the Sun refuses to use intrusive royal shots". All of them trumpeted their promises after Diana's funeral. All of them printed the pictures of William last week.
This isn't new, of course: newspapers kept Fraser on speed-dial even as they were putting the final touches to their 'Princess of Hearts' specials. But in February, when a French court ruled that three of the photographers who pursued Diana and Dodi were guilty of criminal offences, the flower-laying mob who had bayed for their blood nine years before were silent. These days, when Prince Harry comes out of a nightclub and tries to punch one of the people whom, he read as a child, had caused his mother's death, it's taken as evidence of his unsuitability to do his job.
When pictures of Kate Middleton on a bus were splashed all over the papers recently, her family called in the lawyers. One day soon it may be a car, and perhaps she will ask the driver to put his foot down...