Princess Diana News
The latest Princess Diana news from the media and on the web

Sep
05

Kensington Palace, a London royal residence for over 300 years, is the most intimate of royal palaces. There, on January 24 1986, the Prince and Princess of Wales – Charles elegant in a navy blazer, buttoned-down collar and regimental tie, Diana exquisite in a simple creation of red – welcomed prime minister Shimon Peres for lunch.

It was an informal, cozy affair, presaged by drinks in a comfy, happy-looking parlor, papered in a bold flower design and draped with curtains that gave off a pinkish tint. Following a prelude of pleasantries, the suave and urbane Shimon Peres said with a hint of a smile, “Your Royal Highnesses, I come carrying gifts from Jerusalem” and, half bowing, presented to Diana a Roman coin bearing the likeness of Diana the goddess of the hunt, and to the avowed equestrian Charles a statuette of a terra cotta horse of ancient Greek provenance, both unearthed in Jerusalem.

Diana inspected her coin with huge delight while Charles handled his horse a tad awkwardly, saying, “Wonderful piece! Most appreciated! But I’m afraid my gift to you is far less grand,” and he picked up two volumes from a piano top. “You have a reputation, prime minister, of being a man of letters,” he said, “so I pray you will find these of interest. They are the latest biographies of our poet, T.S. Eliot, and of my late great uncle, Lord Mountbatten of Burma – victim of IRA assassins, as you know.”

“They come highly recommended,” chirped a jovial Antonia Fraser, the prolific writer of historical biographies and wife of playwright and Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter.

“And they will make a fine addition to your library, I promise you,” guffawed the famed academic Lord Annan, a vaguely soldierly type in his early seventies, with a glossy pate as bald as a billiard ball.

Shimon Peres expressed gratitude and resolutely said as if proposing a toast, “It is my privilege, Your Royal Highnesses, to extend to you an invitation to visit Israel at a time of your convenience, where you will be received as most honored and welcome guests.”

DIANA’S EYES sparkled, and her husband responded, “How kind! We’d love to come,” but then, with the silkiness of his royal breeding, deftly qualified his acceptance with the reservation, “at the appropriate time.”

“Lunch is about ready,” said the Princess with an easy smile, and she led us into a homely dining room, graceful with time worn distinction, its windows framing a view of a splendid walled garden. We were 11, amicably seated at a single round table under a chandelier whose radiance cast a flaxen light on a tableau of Constables, Hogarths, and Gainsboroughs.

“Tell me, is Mr. Peres married?” whispered Princess Diana hurriedly into my ear as she sat down. (I was ambassador to Britain at the time). “Very much so,” I whispered back. “But his wife, Sonia, prefers not to get involved in his public activities.”

“I totally empathize with her,” hissed the Princess enigmatically.

“Come to think of it,” said Prince Charles mirthfully to the whole table, “I almost did visit Israel once. It was last year – illegally.”

The high-pitched chatter ceased as we all beamed at the prospect of a yarn. “Oh yes, indeed,” the Prince continued in his Windsor top drawer fashion. “I was in Jordan, you see, guest of King Hussein, and I was water skiing in Akaba Bay. Suddenly” – his voice took on a mischievous tone – “my speedboat was chased by Jordanian coastguards. They began blaring at me through a klaxon to turn around immediately otherwise I’d be accosted by the Israeli Navy in Eilat waters – something like that.”

“Pity you turned around,” said Peres grinning. “Our coastguard would have cast a red carpet upon the waters in your honor.”

We all chuckled politely, while a butler refilled our glasses.

“MR. PERES, I always think of Israel as a plucky little country,” said Diana, resting her chin on her hand, a bemused smile on her lips.

“That is kind of you,” said the premier graciously.

“As for me, I always find the Middle East so full of impenetrable intricacies,” brooded Charles. “Do you think a day will ever come when you and your neighbors will get along together?”

“One day,” said Peres wistfully. And then, with his propensity for hyperbole and poetry, “One must remember, as a bird cannot fly with one wing, as a man cannot applaud with one hand, so a country cannot make peace just with one side, with itself.”

“Of course,” said Charles pensively, and went on to express high praise for the kosher menu, engendering a discourse of veneration for the virtues of tradition. This was followed over desert by gossip and funny stories concerning world leaders whom the royals and their guests had met, and it was during this chitchat that Princess Diana, her big, dazzling eyes focusing beseechingly on my wife, Mimi, leaned over to her, and quietly said, “Do me a favor. Please tell people I’m not anorexic. Look, I’ve just taken a second helping of pudding.”

She chuckled to herself at that, and joined in the general conversation about the London arts scene, Mr. Peres saying he had caught a brief glimpse of it the evening before at a fine production of Les Miserables.

“Oh, I saw that,” said Diana gamely, “when it first played at the Barbican before it moved to the Palace Theater. The trouble with the Palace, it’s so hard to find parking there.”

“You, a royal princess, have problem parking?” asked Peres in astonishment.

“Not now,” replied Diana demurely. “I’m talking about before I became a princess.”

“Are you going to allow us to see the little princes?” ventured Antonia Fraser. “How are they?”

“True little devils!” laughed Diana infectiously, somehow managing to be regal and jolly at the same time. “They’re up to all kinds of tricks! William is four and Harry is two, and yesterday, at Buckingham Palace, I let William loose in the throne room. That child is an absolute bull in a China shop. He went running around the thrones going ‘Bang! Bang! Bang.’” She said this aiming two fingers at her husband like a pistol.

Continued
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Sep
05

A NEW CD called “Diana Princess of Wales – The Tribute has been released and is for sale on Amazon.com

The CD features the tracks listed below and costs $24.99 (£12.43)

Introduction, The Paparazzi, Funeral Announcement, The Paparazzi Under Investigation, Eve Of The Funeral, Farewell To Diana, The Eulogy, Reflection Of The Funeral Service, The Legacy Of Instiration

Sep
05

It’s a bit like the Queen Mother. Except it’s all in reverse. The memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales, as they used to say in Northern Ireland, “passed off peacefully”.
It was always going to be a high-risk affair, for all the glaringly obvious reasons.

Principally the fact the Windsors were running it. And they represent the institution most affected by Diana’s spectacular life and career.

But there were other, er, sensitivities. The Spencers, for a start. Though the most rococo of that brood (the late Earl Spencer and Diana’s step-grandmother Barbara Cartland) have gone to their reward, there are enough cannons of the loose variety, mainly her mouthy brother, Charles, to add a frisson to any formal occasion.

Then there’s a discomfited Queen. An even more discomfited Prince Philip. And, well, the late Princess’s ex-husband.

Throw in a few hundred of her friends who couldn’t be invited and the Great Enemy who was but decided not to go, and you get some sense that this was never going to be an event as free from possible disruption as, say, a royal christening.

Yet it was a success. No one got shot.

But why is it like the Queen Mother only in reverse?

When HMQM died, the received opinion in the media was that no one would bother. Leave the old dear out for a night, let the Blitz veterans and a handful of royalty freaks file past and then get the funeral over with.

It didn’t turn out like that.

With Diana, the media had been gearing up for most of the year, with supplements, DVDs, TV pseudo documentaries, the lot, hoping to cash in on what everyone knew to be the deep and wide appreciation of the Princess.

It may appear from the modest Windsor-organised event that the public has forgotten Diana.

Some have even taken the ceremony as evidence that Britain and its people have been restored to an emotional equilibrium much at odds with the rather distasteful hysteria of 10 years ago.

I’m sorry to report this is not so.

The Windsors are, so to speak, pulling it off. They had to rehabilitate themselves as people and as an institution with the British people after Diana’s death. They are still negotiating their way gingerly through a minefield of public opinion. The last-minute withdrawal of Camilla was a recognition of just how dangerous the Diana issue still is. And it was the right move.

Do we still care about Diana, ask the carpers. Yes, the people do, drawing satisfaction from the irony that in the same way a young, betrayed wife once lamented that there were three people in her marriage (“so it was a bit crowded”) , her long-time tormentor must now do the same. And, of course, it’s worse, much worse. Diana’s rival was, inexplicably, an old boiler. Camilla’s other woman is a beautiful princess, preserved forever in death at the height of her powers.

There is a ‘fingers in the ears, watching from behind the sofa’ quality to many royal occasions nowadays.

The Diana concert, earlier in the summer, was mercifully free from that – but only because the late Princess’s ex-husband wasn’t there. It was left to his and her sons to work out their own contract with the British people as regards their mother.

But people do have a very keen understanding of the delicacy of the two boys’ positions now, and are generous towards it.

It’s just that most of us would rather not be put in the position publicly of eavesdropping on how they go about this.

Everybody cares one way or another about Diana. But not everybody is going to turn up outside the Guards’ Chapel as if Diana was there.

Her status as icon, superstar and the People’s Princess is not something that the Guards’ Chapel or the Royals can detract from or add to; they just have to accommodate it.

The people managed to do that quite a long time ago.

Sep
05

PRINCESS Diana sat through state occasions and formal dinners with knicker elastic holding her tiara in place.Richard Dalton, her closest confidante and hairdresser for ten years, came up with the trick after Diana complained her tiara was uncomfortable, heavy and hard to keep on.

In the final part of his first-ever interview Richard said: “Any pictures you see of Diana looking forlorn or grimacing slightly while wearing a tiara are because she was in pain.

“She told me, ‘Richard, you have got to do something about this.’ So I had velvet sewn into it to cushion her head and used knicker elastic from one side to the other so she could keep the damn thing firmly on.

“We would pull her hair over the top and blend it in and we never looked back.

Close ... Di chats with Richard during 1985 trip to Australia
Close … Di chats with Richard
during 1985 trip to Australia

“The Spencer tiara is also very noisy. It rattles from all the pearls so it drove her a little mad, on top of the weight of it.”

Richard added: “Seeing her haircuts and styles being imitated around the world was an extraordinary feeling. It’s a hairdresser’s dream.

“It’s like being a hair stylist for a magazine shoot and seeing your creation on the cover, except with Diana your hairdo was on the cover of every other magazine on the news-stand, not just one. That was amazing.

“The time we went to Japan was hysterical because the streets were lined with hundreds of Japanese wearing blonde wigs shaped in a Di style.

Popular ... Diana in Munich
Popular … Diana in Munich

“Charles didn’t quite get it but Diana and I thought it was hysterically funny.” The crimper, who is credited with making the princess an icon for millions of women, has two favourite styles he created for Diana.

The first was when she went to the opera in Munich and he recalled: “Her hair was flawless and she looked so beautiful.

“My other favourite was a night in Bangkok with orchids in her hair. She was wearing a purple one-shoulder dress — it was stunning. I had to run down the stairs to watch her come out of the elevator.”

One of Diana’s hairstyles — at the State Opening of Parliament in 1984 — caused a huge furore which left her mother-in-law the Queen distinctly unamused.

Favourite ... Diana in Bangkok
Favourite … Diana in Bangkok

Scots bachelor Richard had created a chignon for Diana — a swept-behind-the-head bun — which grabbed all the headlines the following day.

He recalled: “There was a big hoo-ha afterwards. Diana was horrified when the hairdo eclipsed the Queen and it completely altered the way we approached changing her length and styles.

“After that if we wanted to change the cut of her hair — say she wanted it shorter — we would cut it a tiny bit every other day for two months so that by the time she wanted it to be short it had completely slipped under the radar and nobody noticed the difference.”

Richard reckons Diana only ever had one spectacular failure with her hair.

He said: “I think the only mistake she ever made was to slick it back — and you’ll notice she never did that again. There is a picture that Terence Donovan took of her with slicked-back hair which we did at a photo sitting with him.

Ceremony ... Diana at the State Opening of Parliament
Ceremony … Diana at the State Opening of Parliament

“We were just messing about in the studio and I gelled her hair completely back and we put a tiara on top. Diana gave me a couple of prints from that shoot and I have them on my wall at home.”

He added: “Her favourite place to get her hair done was at my house in Kensington. We’d wash her hair at the kitchen sink, then go upstairs and blow-dry it.

Tress code ... Diana in the Spencer tiara
Tress code … Diana in the Spencer tiara

“My room upstairs had pictures of her and the boys on the walls and she’d say, ‘I hate coming in this room because there are pictures of me everywhere.’

“I also cut William and Harry’s hair. I would often go up to the nursery to say hello to the boys when they were home.

“As soon as they’d see me they would rush to put a chair on the coffee table because that is where I cut their hair.

“They’d also go to put the TV on because they were allowed to watch it when I was cutting their hair. They would be so disappointed if they found out I was just there to say hello because it meant no telly.”

Amused ... Di during Tokyo visit
Amused … Di during Tokyo visit

Richard added: “Travelling was a whole other story and we did her hair in some of the most unusual places, like the toilet of an Air New Zealand jumbo jet.

“We always permed her hair which was why we were able to achieve the looks we did, but Diana was not much of a hair-hopper.

“We tried it long and it would be a little bit of a mess and when I put it up it generated far too much press. In the end, short hair just suited her best.

“My mentor was Alexander of Paris. He was Princess Grace’s hairdresser and I have always modelled my career on his.

“That Princess Diana died in a crash in the same way Alexander lost his princess, it was scary. I was sick to my stomach.

 
 

“I know Diana confided a lot in Princess Grace at first. The parallels with what they both went through meant Grace was able to give the Princess a lot of support.

“The first time I did the Princess’s hair for a solo occasion was for Grace’s funeral. She was devastated. When she went to the Cannes Film Festival we chose the ice-blue Catherine Walker dress and had Catherine make a long scarf to go with it as a direct tribute to Princess Grace.

“I have photographs of Diana all over my house and sometimes I think, ‘My God, this is just a tragedy and I wish it never happened but I can’t bring her back.’”

Sep
05

Embarrassed French officials are struggling to find the case file on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, after a lawyer reported that thousands of original documents had disappeared from the Paris court archives.

Jean-Louis Pelletier, who represents a photographer prosecuted after the Paris 1997 car crash, said today that the file, a metre wide and containing photographs, reports, statements and other evidence, had vanished from the central law courts on the Seine.

Justice officials said they were tracking down the file. “We are pursuing this,” said a spokesman who declined to confirm or deny that they had lost or been robbed of the file.

The original was stored in 2002 after the investigation, led by Judge Hervé Stephan, was wound up after legal challenges by Mohammed Al-Fayed. It has been used in subsequent proceedings.

“I wanted, out of curiosity, to see the original file a month ago,” Mr Pelletier told The Times. “They said it couldn’t be found. The appeal court didn’t have it. The registrar didn’t have it and nor did the law courts’ archives. It’s very troubling that a file of this importance could disappear. The authorities responsible for keeping it could not tell me where it went.”

Several complete photocopies of the case file exist, but the originals are legally necessary for future proceedings such as new British inquest which is opening on October 2. The British jury is to visit the Alma tunnel in Paris, the scene of the accident in which the Princess was killed on August 31, 1997.

Judge Stephan’s investigation, carried out with Martine Monteil, then chief of the Paris serious crime squad, concluded in September 1999 that the accident was due to the drunken state of Henri Paul, the driver of the Princess’s car. Manslaughter charges against nine photogrphers and a motorcycle courier who pursued the Princess’s car, were dropped. Mohamed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi, the Princess’s companion, has never accepted the findings.

While claiming a conspiracy, he continues to pursue three of the photographers for breach of privacy. Fabrice Chassery, Mr Pelletier’s client, is one of them. They are appealing to the highest court after appeal judges reversed a lower court aquittal and found that they breached the privacy of the occupants of the crashed Mercedes.

Mr Pelletier is separately pursuing publishers who have printed a picture of the dying Princess which Mr Chassery took on the scene of the accident. The photographer decided not to distribute the picture when her death was announced. The judge’s case file contained originals of all the photographers’ pictures on the night of the accident.

A copy of Mr Pelletier’s picture began circulating internationally three years ago, becoming the most celebrated picture of the Princess’s last minutes. Mr Pelletier speculated that the pirated picture came from the file. “The photograph could be a copy by someone with access to the file, or stolen along with the whole file,” he told The Times.

The news of the disappearance of the case file came as the coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker held his last preliminary hearing before the inquest into Diana’s death finally opens.

Ian Burnett, QC, counsel for the inquest, used the hearing to outline the logistics and said that the the jury – made up of members of the public – would travel to Paris with the coroner and interested parties.

The jury is set to be sworn in on October 2, followed by any opening remarks by Lord Justice Scott Baker. Over the following two days, they will hear scene setting evidence and be given maps and photos, before heading to Paris.

Video link evidence from France is expected to start around October 10 involving witnesses who saw the Mercedes and the aftermath of the crash, after which it is hoped there will be evidence from the paparazzi.

Mr Burnett said that the legal team for Dodi’s father, the Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, who was present at the High Court for today’s hearing, had asked for 68 witnesses overall, while the Ritz had requested eight.

He detailed the proposed running order up until Christmas 2007, saying that next up would be evidence concerning the treatment of the Princess at the scene, the journey to the hospital and her treatment at hospital.

The inquest would then focus on the embalming of Diana’s body, her post-mortem examination, events earlier in the day she died, the suggestion Diana was engaged, the alleged purchase of a ring, claims she was pregnant and bodyguards’ evidence.

The jury will then hear “the whole topic of Henri Paul”, Mr Burnett said.

Both the Operation Paget report and the French investigation concluded that the chauffeur had been drinking and driving too fast.

The inquest will look at the issue of whether his driving actually was impaired by drink and drugs. The jury will sit for four days a week, with the fifth day taken up by legal discussion, Mr Burnett added.

Sep
05

Jurors at the inquest into the death of Diana Princess of Wales will visit the scene of the fatal Paris car crash, a preliminary hearing has heard. The trip is expected shortly after the inquest begins on 2 October.

Ian Burnett QC, counsel for the inquest, said coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker and interested parties would accompany the jury to Paris.

The inquest could last until late March. Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed died in Paris on 31 August 1997.

Driver Henri Paul was also killed when their Mercedes crashed in the Pont de l’Alma underpass, soon after leaving the Hotel Ritz.

Video evidence

Outlining the expected course of the inquest, Mr Burnett said the jury would be sworn in on 2 October, followed by opening remarks by Lord Justice Scott Baker.

Scene-setting evidence with maps and photos would be shown during the next two days before the visit to Paris.

Video link evidence from France is expected to start about 10 October, involving witnesses who saw the Mercedes and the aftermath of the crash.

Lawyers for Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s father, have requested 68 witnesses, and the Ritz eight, Mr Burnett said.

‘Squidgy-gate’

Lord Justice Baker has previously outlined 20 issues that the inquest will examine, but Michael Mansfield, QC, representing Mr Al Fayed, told the preliminary hearing that the “Squidgy-gate” tapes should be included as evidence of the Princess’s state of mind.

The contents of the 1989 tapes were published in 1992 and reveal conversations between the princess and a man, later identified as her friend James Gilbey, in which he calls her “Squidgy”.

Mr Mansfield said there was evidence that the tapes were not recorded by an amateur radio enthusiast.

He said this supported Diana’s suspicion that she was being monitored by the security services throughout the 1990s.

“This relates to the credibility of the security services’ claim that they were not involved in monitoring Princess Diana in any way in the summer of 1997.”

The jury will sit for four days a week, with the fifth day taken up by legal discussion, Mr Burnett added.

Sep
05

Princess Diana wants her youngest son Harry to take charge of the United Kingdom monarchy ahead of his older brother – because he’d make a better king. The shocking revelation came from a seance celebrity psychic Kenny Kingston held in his Hollywood home on the 10th anniversary of Diana’s death (31Aug07). Kingston, who has been psychic to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Hollywood `royal’ Marilyn Monroe, insists Diana contacted him from the spirit world and explained why her youngest son would make a great king. He says, “She shockingly said that, as much as she truly loves both of her boys, she feels that in the long run Harry would be more suited to become the next monarch, rather than William. “She feels Harry is more military minded. She thinks William is a bit more of a playboy and less serious about the monarchy than his younger brother.” Kingston, who revealed Diana should take care on car journeys between July and November, months before she lost her life, also claims the tragic royal is troubled by the fact that her sons never speak publicly about feeling the presence of their late mother. The psychic says, “She continues to visit the boys in spirit and hopes that one day they’ll admit to the public that they indeed feel a presence during those visits.”

Sep
05

From fairy-tale wedding to tragic funeral, the extraordinary life of Diana, Princess of Wales, was a chronicle of jewels each marking distinct junctures in her life.

Beginning with the infamous 28,500 pound sapphire engagement ring, Diana was frequently showered with gems, each of which held a unique significance to the events in her life at the time.

On the day of her wedding she married into the Royal Family but she still wore the Spencer tiara, symbolising the grandeur of her own dynasty. Unknown to the public, Diana had almost called off the wedding when she discovered that Charles was giving Camilla Parker Bowles a special bracelet as a token of their relationship, and on their honeymoon, she found Charles wearing cufflinks from Camilla engraved with a double C.

In July 1997, after her split with Charles, Diana wore the “Swan Lake” suite – a pricey piece, set with diamonds and pearls – to the ballet of the same name. On this night she also accepted an invitation to holiday with Mohamed al Fayed’s family – a decision that would seal her fate.

Finally, there is the mystery of the ring bought by Dodi just days before the fatal crash, could this have been an engagement ring?

To read more on Princess Diana’s jewells

Please visit our website Princess Diana Remembered

Sep
05

The last preliminary hearing before the Diana, Princess of Wales inquest begins in full is due to take place.

Unless there are any last minute setbacks, the case is scheduled to start next month on October 2.

Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker is holding a meeting with lawyers at the High Court in London, which could stretch to two days.

At the last hearing, he outlined 20 issues which will be addressed at the full inquest, ranging from whether chauffeur Henri Paul was really drunk or on drugs to whether Diana feared for her life and whether she was pregnant.

The hearing comes just five days after Prince William and Prince Harry marked the 10th anniversary of the Princess’ death at an emotional memorial service in London.

The brothers have already expressed concern about the inquest, calling for it to be swiftly resolved.

Diana, 36, and 42-year-old Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed, nicknamed Dodi, were killed with Paul when their Mercedes crashed in a Parisian underpass on August 31 1997.

Mohamed al Fayed, Dodi’s father, has his legal team including Michael Mansfield QC poised ready for the joint inquest.

Harrods owner Mr al Fayed claims Diana was pregnant with Dodi’s child and that Dodi and the Princess were murdered in an Establishment and Secret Service plot.

The Metropolitan Police investigation found the crash was simply a tragic accident, with Paul having been drinking and driving too fast.

Sep
05

Two policemen tried to sell a valuable memento from the thanksgiving service for Princess Diana on eBay, it has emerged.The Order of Service was being offered on the internet auction site within eight hours of last Friday’s service in London marking the tenth anniversary of Diana’s death.

A friend of Prince William and Prince Harry described the actions of the Scotland Yard officers as “utterly despicable” and expressed the brothers’ anger.

“Harry called for his mother to be allowed to rest in peace and a few hours later police officers are trying to profit from her memory,” the friend added.

After the officers were given a “slap on the wrist” by their bosses, one senior Scotland Yard source told the Daily Mail: “When you join the force you swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

“What they have done is an absolute disgrace to her name and giving them just a slap on the wrist is beyond a joke. They were in this for profit.”

The Mail was alerted to the sale on Monday and found that the 12-page booklet for the service in the Guards’ Chapel at Wellington Barracks had attracted bids of more than $400 (approximately £200).

A note said it was the “genuine article from within the chapel itself”.

Inquiries led to the home in Crawley, West Sussex, of Ross Anders and Damon Goodman, who work as beat constables in Central London.

Anders, 30, and Goodman, who is in his early thirties, have been living together for five years and plan a civil “wedding” in October.

When asked about the document on Monday, Goodman confirmed he was behind the sale.

When told he was talking to a reporter he became flustered and changed his story saying: “No, no, no . . . I’m not selling it.”

Eight minutes after the meeting the document was withdrawn from the auction site.

Just over 500 orders of service were printed, with a handful kept in case of emergencies.

According to senior royal sources, every copy placed on a seat to be occupied in the chapel was taken home. The spares were taken back to Clarence House.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The matter has been brought to our attention and has been dealt with by senior management within the City of Westminster police today.

“One of the officers involved has received words of advice about his actions and the other officer – who is not on duty – will be spoken to in due course.

“In addition steps will be taken in the form of guidance to officers in the borough of what is expected of them when policing public events.”

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