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Dead Diana! Tabloids outraged

London, July 14 (Reuters): British tabloids who revelled in covering every twist in Princess Diana’s tortured love life united on Friday in condemning an Italian magazine for printing a picture of her dying after a Paris car crash.

The popular press, once accused by Diana’s brother of hounding to death the world’s most photographed woman, centred their rage on Chi magazine for its picture of her slumped in the mangled wreckage.

“Shame On You” thundered The Sun, which reprinted the photo in Chi but blanked out the image of Diana.

“Outrage at picture of dying Diana in magazine,” declared the Daily Express. “Dying Diana photo fury” was The Daily Mirror headline.

“This reaction does not come as a surprise to me. There is no doubting the double standards of the British media,” said leading publicist Max Clifford.

“Every time anyone does a kiss-and-tell story, the newspapers tear them apart even though the same newspapers were bidding for the story,” he said.

Clifford said: “There is a huge public interest and if they are not horrendous images, I cannot get myself as stirred up as they seem to be.”

At the height of her fame, a front-page picture of Diana would always boost the circulation of tabloids and celebrity magazines.

But, almost nine years after her death, that attraction has waned among Britons who succumbed to an uncharacteristic outpouring of national grief in the days after the crash.

Daily Mirror royal correspondent James Whitaker took a phlegmatic approach to the photo’s publication. “It is fairly grim ' but inevitable. It is revolting but people like revolting things. It is the way humans are,” he said.

But royal biographer Penny Junor was disgusted, above all sparing a thought for Diana’s sons William and Harry. “This is totally tasteless,” she said.

Chi defended its decision, saying: “There is nothing voyeuristic or disrespectful in all this.”

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