Palace presses ahead with protest

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BUCKINGHAM PALACE has declined to withdraw its complaint against The Sun over publication of a topless picture of Sophie Rhys-Jones.

Royal aides were in touch with the Press Complaints Commission yesterday in response to a full-page apology in the tabloid newspaper.

In a statement, the Palace said the official complaint against the paper would be discussed by the PCC next week. "We have been in touch with the Press Complaints Commission this morning, having seen The Sun's response to yesterday's [Wednesday] stories about Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones," said the statement.

"We understand from the PCC that they have a regular meeting scheduled for next Wednesday at which the issue will be discussed. We will not be making any further comment until then."

The Queen's communications secretary, Simon Lewis, wrote to the PCC on Wednesday complaining about The Sun's coverage and alleged that publication of the semi- topless picture was an unjust invasion of privacy without public interest, breaching clause 3 of the PCC's code of conduct for journalists.

A copy of the Palace's letter of complaint was forwarded to The Sun. It remains to be seen whether the complaint is sustained, possibly involving a full adjudication, at next week's PCC meeting.

In its editorial yesterday The Sun, which was heavily criticised for using the picture, said it had made a mistake. "It was never our intention to spoil Sophie's joy over her forthcoming marriage to Prince Edward," it said.

It added: "Don't worry Sophie. There will be no more revelations in The Sun that cause you offence."

The picture, taken during a radio roadshow trip to Spain in 1988, showed the Who Wants to be a Millionaire presenter Chris Tarrant and Miss Rhys- Jones laughing together as they sat in the back of a car.

Miss Rhys-Jones was pictured leaning against the Capital Radio breakfast presenter, who was lifting up her bikini top.

Kara Noble, the radio presenter who took the picture, was sacked from her position as co-host of Heart 106.2 FM's breakfast show this week.

t Miss Rhys-Jones made her first public appearance yesterday since the picture story, at the London wedding of the dress designer Samantha Shaw, who is making the wedding gown.