Leading article: Not such private grief

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Forget the media battles waged by Charles and Di. They were tame in comparison with the palace intrigues that have been playing out in the pages of the Italian press.

According to his soon to be ex-wife, Veronica Lario, Italy's leader, Silvio Berlusconi, is always on the phone, even in his sleep. So it is not surprising that over the years she has appeared to use news outlets as a means of conversing with him. After Mr Berlusconi recently attended the 18th birthday party of a young woman whom she suspects he is involved with, Ms Lario gave an interview in which she noted that he had never attended the 18th birthday parties of his own children. The news that she is now seeking a divorce also appeared to reach her husband via the media.

Mr Berlusconi has one advantage over his wife if this spat continues. He owns much of Italy's media. One fears, therefore, that Ms Lario may find her preferred channel of communication less reliable from now on.

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