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Last Updated: Friday, 28 December 2007, 11:44 GMT
Miss France keeps crown amid row
Miss France, Valerie Begue
Ms Begue got passionate support from Reunion islanders
Valerie Begue can keep her Miss France crown despite a row over suggestive pictures that appeared in a French magazine, the contest organisers say.

But Ms Begue, who was crowned on 8 December, will not be allowed to take part in international beauty contests.

One picture showed her licking yoghurt provocatively, while another had her posing on a wooden cross, like Christ.

Her home island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, had campaigned to prevent her being stripped of her crown.

Before the competition, contestants guarantee that they have never been photographed in compromising positions.

Photos 'still shocking'

The controversial pictures were published on 21 December, prompting the president of the Miss France contest, Genevieve de Fontenay, to call for Ms Begue, 22, to stand down.

But on Friday Ms de Fontenay said Ms Begue could keep her crown "provided she does not participate in any international elections [contests] ".

"The photos are shocking and continue to shock. These are not innocent photos. In no way do they correspond to the image of Miss France," she added.

Ms Begue expressed relief, saying, "I'm happy to keep my title and thank all those who supported me".

Ms de Fontenay, quoted by the French news agency AFP, said she accepted the argument of broadcaster TF1 that the viewers who voted for Ms Begue had been unaware that the photographs existed.

The competition ran into similar controversy in 2005 when the then Miss France was stripped of her crown for posing for Playboy magazine.

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