Herald fumes over 'banal' royal pics ban

This photo was supplied by a Save The Children v

Save The Children's decision to ban the press from a Royal visit to one of its shops has been described as "banal and incomprehensible" by a newspaper editor.

The Worthing Herald was alerted in advance that the Princess Royal would be visiting the town's Save The Children shop. A press release said that reporters and photographers would not be allowed in the shop during the visit but only after the Princess had gone adding that: "normal Royal rota rules apply".

Herald editor Jon Buss said: "It was obviously just a phrase they trotted out because someone thought it sounded efficient and official. But they clearly didn't have a clue what a Royal rota actually was.

"We checked and of course there was no rota in place. If it had been, it would allow for a photographer representing everyone to get inside the shop and take pictures - the very thing they were trying to ban.

"When we discovered there was no rota we checked with the Princess Royal's office and, of course, they had no objections to us taking pictures inside. The only people who objected were Save The Children and so far they haven't offered any kind of explanation about this policy."

He added: "It is one of the silliest examples of petty officialdom I have ever encountered, and I've seen a few."

Buss declined the offer to go into the shop afterwards to take pictures of staff and of the eight-year-old girl who presented the Princess with a bouquet.

He said: "We would have a picture of a little girl but without the bouquet and without the Princess. It would be laughable if it wasn't so ridiculous."

Buss was not impressed by being sent an amateur photo of the visit three weeks later by Save The Children.

He said: "Even if the goodwill to publish was there, it was old news by then. And they even had the cheek to include an appeal for more volunteers."

Last year the Worthing Herald editorial department decided to make a donation to Save The Children rather than send Christmas cards. Buss said that this year they would be choosing a different charity.

A spokesman for Save The Children told Press Gazette : "Photographers or press aren't allowed into the shop before or during the visit but they are allowed to take photographs outside.

That's a security arrangement insisted on by the Palace to contain and control the environment and safety."

By Dominic Ponsford

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