How often do editors say, “We are sorry for what we did”? Answer: Not too often. But three former tabloid editors in Britain, not the most remorseful among the tribe, have come close to that by admitting their share of guilt for the road mishap in which the Princess of Wales, Diana, was killed in Paris.
In interviews with the Daily Telegraph, London, the editors of News of the World, The Sun and Daily Mirror have conceded that they had helped create an atmosphere in which the paparazzi, who were chasing Princess Diana when her car crashed in a Paris underpass in 1997, were out of control.
Phil Hall, the then editor of the News of the World: “If the paparazzi hadn’t been following her the car wouldn’t have been speeding and, you know, the accident may never have happened. A big Diana story could add 150,000 sales. So we were all responsible.”
Stuart Higgins, who edited The Sun: “The death of Princess Diana was the most tragic story during my period as editor. I have often questioned my role, the paper’s role and the media’s role generally in her death and the events leading up to it. The tabloids created a frenzy and appetite around Diana. But in the end I believe it was just a terrible accident, caused by a drunken driver and possibly because of the lack of the high level of police and security protection that she had enjoyed previously.”
Piers Morgan, who was the editor of the Daily Mirror: “We in the media were culpable in allowing the paparazzi to become ridiculously over the top. Everyone working on national newspapers, in the first few days after she died, felt a collective sense that the paparazzi were out of control in relation to Diana. She was the biggest celebrity we have ever seen and it got completely out of hand.”