Enough

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The Independent Online
Apportioning blame for Diana's death is not, in any exact way, possible. Paparazzi, "the media", her extraordinary life; her personal unhappiness and search for solace afterwards; a speeding (and it seems drunken) driver; how is one supposed to extract a simple message from all that?

But that does not enable anyone to escape remorse, or question their own behaviour. The most famous woman in the world felt also, as her brother put it in his extraordinary tribute, that she was the most hunted person in the world. That hunt was not set off by a group of journalists or proprietors alone; it was part of a media event authorised by the royal family itself. What happened last week was the final act of an experiment in global glamour royalty which began at Diana's wedding in the Abbey 16 years ago. Hysterical "Di worship" was carried on largely through the tabloids and the television screen: without it we would not have seen the scenes we have witnessed in the past eight days. It began as a controlled thing which helped the monarchy, but it ran entirely out of control. Now it is no longer a soap opera romance, but a tragedy in the face of which all the writers and players stand aghast.

If we are not all sadder and wiser, we damned well ought to be. The hunt became a blood sport. The quarry dead, let us find gentler pursuits. This newspaper has never been excited about titillating and intrusive pictures of the famous, nor has it been devoted to covering the royal family simply because it is there: abstinence may therefore be easy for us. We do not apologise for giving the story saturation coverage last week, because what happened on the streets of London after the accident was a huge happening. But from here on in, this paper has had enough.

We will never publish pictures of the young princes William and Harry in private situations again. On state occasions maybe, or on matters of constitutional significance, but even then we will be sparing. That will sometimes mean that pictures of royalty organised by Buckingham Palace, which the royal family are keen to see published, will not be in the Independent. But we have no more wish to be publicity agents for the monarchy than to be incessant voyeurs of it. A story is over. Let the sequel be written in another way.

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