Letter: Public lives

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Sir: David Aaronovitch ("The right not to be known", 26th November) takes his argument for personal privacy too far.

If celebrities, such as Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates, systematically titillate their tabloid and television public with details of their private lives, it is neither surprising nor unreasonable that their chosen public should exhibit a prurient interest in the circumstances of an untimely death.

The case of Earl Spencer and reports of his divorce process is different. This man took the occasion of the memorial service for his sister, Diana, with a huge global audience, not only to castigate the media whose attentions she had so assiduously encouraged, but also to affirm the dutiful dedication of her "blood family", with thinly-veiled criticism of the Royal Family's treatment of her. He fuelled the then prevailing popular hysteria.

I am not an admirer of the House of Windsor. I do, however, despise humbug, and I consider the Spencer story entirely legitimate "public interest". It is proper that his treatment of his wife and family be available for comparison.