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Thursday, April 29, 1999 Published at 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK


New press guide on princes

The palace has been asked to supply more information on the princes

New guidelines have been issued for press coverage of princes William and Harry.

The BBC's Peter Hunt: "Papers and the Palace have struck a deal"
The Press Complaints Commission guidance, set out on Thursday, urges editors to continue to show restraint but calls on St James's Palace to release more information on the young princes.

In response, the palace has dropped complaints alleging breach of existing privacy guidelines against two newspapers.

[ image: One of the stories that upset the palace]
One of the stories that upset the palace
Announcing the revised guidelines, PCC chairman Lord Wakeham said: "The privacy of Prince William and Prince Harry continues to be of paramount importance and these new guidelines - based on the new, much tougher Code of Practice - are a practical and common sense way to safeguard it.

"At the same time, it will ensure that newspapers will be able to chart their progress at school for their readers, among whom there is huge affection for these young men.

"All newspapers and magazines deserve great credit for the way in which they have sought to maintain the privacy of Prince William and Prince Harry at school.

"It is one of the substantial and clear successes of self-regulation."

The original guidelines were issued in August 1995 before William started at Eton.

Complaints dropped

Their revision has come about following a major rewriting of the industry's self-regulating Code of Practice, offering much greater privacy rights to children.

Last year St James's Palace made complaints to the PCC about two newspapers - The Mirror and The Daily Star - over their coverage of the princes' school lives.

The palace confirmed on Thursday that they have dropped the complaints.

The new guidelines urge the palace to provide more stories about the princes.

They say: "(The palace) will need to try to offer real stories of interest about the princes as well as photo opportunities.

"This, in turn, is likely to mean that fewer trivial, sensationalised stories actually appear: they themselves may be a symptom of a lack of genuine non-intrusive information."

The guidelines conclude: "At the same time, all newspapers should be aware of the problems posed by an accumulation of newspaper coverage of either of the royal princes.

"(The media) should seek a view about the likely impact of a particular story on one of the boys when assessing whether or not to publish a story.

"In doing so, editors should continue to err on the side of restraint as the code dictates that intrusions into a child's privacy should only be on a matter of exceptional public interest."

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