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1993: Diana sues over gym photos

Lawyers acting for the Princess of Wales have started legal action over secretly-taken pictures of her exercising which were published last week by a national newspaper.

Writs have been issued against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the gym where Princess Diana was photographed and the gym's owner.

The writs seek a permanent ban on the publication of the pictures which show the princess clad in a leotard and cycling shorts.

They also demand that all copies and negatives should be handed over to the princess' solicitor.

The photos, taken by gym owner Bryce Taylor, were first published in the Sunday Mirror and then again in yesterday's Daily Mirror.

Princess Diana has already won a High Court injunction against Mr Taylor and MGN banning further publication of the pictures.

She also wants to prevent the sale and publication of them outside of the UK, which could potentially earn New Zealand-born Mr Taylor hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The judge ordered him to provide detail of all agreements relating to the photographs and identify everyone to whom they had been passed.

They have already been published in other countries.

Holland's biggest daily, De Telegraaf, ran one of the pictures on its front page.

In the US, a tabloid newspaper group has bought the American rights to the pictures for 25,000.

After publishing the pictures the Mirror felt the backlash of widespread public outrage and some large companies withdrew their advertising.

But a defiant spokesman for the company claimed sales of yesterday's paper and the Sunday Mirror had both risen by more than 100,000.

Princess Diana's decision marks a new approach by the royal family, which has traditionally resisted using the law to hit back.

She could become the first member of the royal family to testify in a courtroom since 1891 when the then Prince of Wales gave evidence for a friend in a libel action.

In Context
After hostile public reaction and a drop in sales, MGN apologised to Princess Diana shortly after publishing the photographs.

In June 1994 the Princess settled her action against the gym, LA Fitness, when the company issued an apology.

But Bryce Taylor refused to give up his personal profits and the case seemed set to go to court.

In February 1995 lawyers eventually came to a settlement, less than a week before the case was due to start.

The settlement was never publicly disclosed but it was believed that MGN paid Princess Diana's legal costs of about 1m and about 200,000 to charities of her choice.

Mr Taylor apologised to the princess and gave up the 300,000 he had made from selling the pictures.

However, there were strong hints that a member of the royal family helped fund a large payment to Mr Taylor in return for his settling out of court.


Web Links
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
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