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A buss from Diana, or more bunk?

Tabloids have field day with grainy photos

August 10, 1997
Web posted at: 6:54 p.m. EDT (2254 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- British newspapers were awash Sunday in speculation about Princess Diana's romantic future, after photos were published of her allegedly kissing film producer Dodi Fayed, the man reputed to be her new beau.

The pictures ran in the Sunday Mirror, which reportedly outbid other papers and paid 250,000 pounds (about $400,000) for the shots. The Mirror said they were taken this month by an Italian photographer while the princess and Fayed were on a Mediterranean cruise aboard a luxury yacht owned by his father.

However, these photos were not quite picture-perfect evidence of budding romance.

The Mirror ran three grainy shots are of two people resembling Diana and Fayed. But they are facing each other as they kiss, so neither face is visible. The woman in the photo is blonde, like Diana, but is only seen from the back. However, she is wearing a swimsuit that resembles one in which Diana has been seen previously.

These photos were accompanied by a fourth shot, clearly showing the princess and Fayed. However, they are not kissing, and Diana is wearing a different swimsuit, indicating that these pictures weren't taken contemporaneously with the other shots.

Mirror: Diana feels like 'real woman'

Last week, British papers were full of photos of Diana and Fayed, triggering speculation about a romance. But they were only sitting near each other, not kissing.

The British press has previously been taken in by photos of Diana that turned out to be hoax, including an incident where she was supposedly seen through a window riding "horseback" on the back of a man.

That previous experience, however, didn't seem to temper the Mirror's breathless enthusiasm.

"See how she gives herself up to her new lover. How she nestles her head trustingly against his muscular chest," read the Mirror story, without attribution. "Our world exclusive photos show that, after years of inner turmoil and tears, Princess Diana has finally found a man who makes her feel like a real woman."

Not to be outdone, a rival paper, the News of the World, produced a computer graphic of what Diana and Fayed would have looked like kissing. The paper quoted his ex-wife, Suzanne Gregard, as saying Fayed has telephoned her and told her about his romance, terming it "serious."

Fayed produced 'Chariots of Fire'

The princess, 36, has publicly said nothing about the rumors that she is romantically involved with Fayed, 41, an Egyptian whose father owns London's famed Harrods department store and the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

Reportedly a multi-millionaire, Fayed has produced such films as the Academy-Award winning "Chariots of Fire," "The World According to Garp," "F/X" and "Hook." He has homes in London, New York, Los Angeles and Switzerland, and has dated a number of prominent stars, including Brooke Shields and Britt Ekland. Like Diana, he has been married and divorced once.

Fayed and the princess are said to have met about 10 years ago, when he played polo against her ex-husband, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.

Fayed's uncle is well-known Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi; his father, Mohamed Al Fayed, was at the center of a corruption scandal that helped lead Britain's Conservative Party to defeat in May's election.

The Mirror speculated that Diana and Fayed would announce their engagement next month. A winter wedding would follow, and the newlyweds would make their home not in Britain but in the United States, the paper said.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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