Leading Article: Just look who's crying now

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The Independent Online
THERE IS no more arresting read than what used to be called Fleet Street in hot pursuit of the big royal story. Yesterday's reaction to the Princess of Wales's plea for time and space was breathtaking even by its own exacting standards. World wars and the deaths of monarchs have been more modestly announced. The Daily Mail took the palm with no fewer than 21 pages. In terms of the most wonderfully brazen effrontery, there could be no competition with the Daily Mirror, which recently published peeping tom photographs of the Princess at her gymnasium. Now on the front page, under the headline 'Diana - we'll leave her alone', its editor gives an 'honest pledge' to respect the Princess's privacy and then 'appeals to the rest of the media . . . to follow our example'. We almost have to admire it.

The Mirror chose to headline the rest of its coverage with the legend 'Diana: Her Saddest Day'. Arthur Edwards, the Sun's royal photographer, got rather nearer the truth. Recalling that he once advised the Princess, 'Don't let them see you cry, love,' Mr Edwards wrote: 'Today it's a different story. As one of the world's most beautiful women steps from public life, it's the photographers who are crying.'

All newspapers pointed out that the decision was worrying for the 118 charities supported by the Princess. The Daily Mail was particularly concerned for the souvenir industry, already hit by the failure of its pounds 21 commemorative royal separation mug, now selling at half price. It is hard not to feel sorry for all concerned. But we are entirely confident that Fleet Street, at least, will get over - and round - it.

(Photograph omitted)