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Wednesday, October 14, 1998 Published at 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK


Charles attacks press over Harry's haircut

Prince Harry signs the register on his first day at Eton

The BBC's Nick Higham reports on the reaction from St James's Palace
Prince Charles is to write to the press watchdog after a tabloid newspaper story about Prince Harry's hairstyle.

The Prince is concerned about the extent to which stories about his sons, William and Harry, "cumulatively constitute an intrusion into their privacy".

The Mirror reported how an attempt by 14-year-old Prince Harry and his Eton schoolmates to copy soccer star Michael Owen's short haircut went awry and resulted in him having a marine-style crop at a barber's to repair the damage.

[ image: The story that offended the Prince]
The story that offended the Prince
The article was accompanied by computer-generated images of how "Harry the skinhead" might look.

The Prince of Wales's spokeswoman, Sandy Henney, said: "The story and computer-generated pictures in The Daily Mirror raise a general issue about the extent to which individual news stories about Prince William and Prince Harry cumulatively constitute an intrusion into their privacy.

"It is a matter of considerable concern to the Prince of Wales, who will be raising the matter with the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission and industry's Code of Practice Committee."

The BBC's Jennie Bond: Harry's hairstyle story was the final straw for the palace
Mirror editor Piers Morgan defended his paper and said he was "very surprised" to learn that the St James's Palace press office was raising concerns about the story.

"That same press office was informed of our intention to publish the story yesterday afternoon and never once raised any concerns with us that it might be invading Harry's privacy.

'Amusing and harmless'

He said St James's Palace had agreed with The Mirror that the story was "both amusing and harmless" and that the press office had in fact provided the paper with official confirmation.

Mr Morgan added: "The Mirror has rejected countless stories about both Prince William and Prince Harry in the last year as we have no wish to cause either boy any upset by running invasive or intrusive stories about their private lives.

"Only two days ago we did not publish one particular story after St James's Palace press office expressed concern about it intruding into Harry's life.

"There are a number of areas of the princes' lives which should and do remain private and unreported but I do not consider the reporting of a haircut to possibly be an invasion of privacy and nor did the St James's Palace press office yesterday.

"It is hard not to conclude that the press office have reacted to complaints from other media who did not have the story."

Later in the day Ms Henney took issue with Mr Morgan's claim that the story was harmless and amusing.

She asked: "It might be a nice human story, but did that mean they had to publish it?"

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