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More flap over Diana bikini photos

By
JOHN IAMS

LONDON -- The Daily Mirror Friday called the pictures of Princess Diana in a red bikini 'squalid' and 'furtive' but a rival tabloid newspaper, the Daily Sun, reprinted one of the 'carefree, innocent and delightful' photos.

The pictures of an obviously pregnant Diana wearing a bikini and frolicking in the surf on a Bahamian beach were first published Thursday in the Daily Star and the Sun.

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Queen Elizabeth was not amused. 'They are in the worst possible taste,' a palace spokesman quoted her as saying.

The royal displeasure -- echoed by the British public in calls to Buckingham Palace -- brought immediate printed apologies from the Sun and Star -- though the Sun reprinted one of the offending pictures.

Both newspapers said they were withdrawing their photographers and writers from the Diana-Charles vacation island.

In a front-page editorial the Sun said: 'It was never our intention to offend. If we have done so, then we are deeply sorry.'

But, the Sun said, 'The pictures were carefree, innocent and delightful. They brought a breath of summer into the lives of millions of our readers back in chilly Britain.'

The Mirror, which did not carry the photographs, blasted its rivals for stooping so low as to print the grainy, long-range photographs of Diana, 20, wading into the surf on Windermere island, where she is on a private vacation with Prince Charles, 33.

'The pictures were squalid in conception, furtive in execution and grubby in publication,' the newspaper fumed in a front-page editorial.

The Mirror would never publish similar pictures, the editorial said.

'We are not in the business of taking sneak shots of pregnant women bathing, whether they are princesses or not.'

The Daily Star, in a page-three apology, said to Princess Diana, who is expecting her first child in June: 'If we have upset you, we are deeply sorry.'

However, the Star said, 'our interest was out of deep affection for the royal couple. We were so pleased to see Diana enjoying herself so freely on the beach that we thought our readers would want to share her joy.'

A UPI photographer said Thursday night he and three French photographers were told to leave the Bahamas, presumably because of the pictures.

UPI photographer Denis Paquin said he was held by Bahamas authorities for nearly a full day before he and the three others were put on a flight to Nassau.

F.W. Lyon, UPI vice president for newspictures, said, 'The royal family are public figures. The pictures we distributed, obtained from another source, are certainly newsworthy. They are neither obscene nor in bad taste.'

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