London: British tabloids who revelled in covering every twist in Princess Diana?s tortured love life united yesterday in condemning an Italian magazine for printing a picture of her dying.
The popular press, once accused by Diana?s brother Charles of hounding to death the world?s most photographed woman, centred their rage on Chi magazine for its picture of her slumped in the mangled wreckage.
"Shame On You" thundered The Sun, Britain?s best-selling daily newspaper, which reprinted the photo in Chi but blanked out the image of Diana.
"Outrage at Picture of Dying Diana in Magazine," declared the Daily Express. "Dying Diana Photo Fury" was The Daily Mirror headline.
"This reaction does not come as a surprise to me. There is no doubting the double standards of the British media," said leading publicist Max Clifford.
"Every time anyone does a kiss and tell story, the newspapers tear them apart even though the same newspapers were bidding for the story," he said.
"There is a huge public interest and if they are not horrendous images, I cannot get myself as stirred up as they seem to be."
At the height of her fame, a front-page picture of Diana would always boost the circulation of tabloids and celebrity magazines.
But, almost nine years after her death, that attraction has waned among Britons who succumbed to an uncharacteristic outpouring of national grief in the days after the crash.
Daily Mirror royal correspondent James Whitaker took a phlegmatic approach to the photo?s publication, saying: "It is fairly grim, but inevitable. It is revolting but people like revolting things. It is the way humans are."
Mohammad Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the car crash which also killed Princess Diana, said he was "sad and angry" at the publication of the photograph.
Chi defended its decision to publish, with an editorial spokesman saying: "There is nothing voyeuristic or disrespectful in all this.
"It is just an attempt to get closer to the truth of a drama that is still wrapped in too much mystery and too many lies."