The Best and Worst of the British Press

Think of your favorite line from a Beatles tune. Chances are it's a headline in one of Britain's newspapers today.

News of Sir Paul McCartney's engagement to former model Heather Mills has swept the British off their feet.

The Times, headlined "Sir Paul says love me do to Heather," writes the engagement has the blessing of McCartney's children Stella, Mary, James and Heather. The Daily Telegraph adds Mills' father is equally delighted.

"Her story is a true inspiration. When they get married it will be the proudest moment of my life," says Mark Mills — who happens to be a year younger than his future son-in-law.

Mills became a leading anti-land mine campaigner after she lost part of her left leg in a motorcycle accident eight years ago.

The couple will marry sometime next year.

Dangerous Bodyguards

The Daily Mail thought they had uncovered a smoking gun on Prince William Wednesday, reporting that he was a regular cigarette smoker. A denial has since been issued.

But today they had pictures of a real smoking gun — a Glock pistol dropped by one of the future king's bodyguards during a scuffle with a foreign press photographer.

Scotland Yard insists there was no danger because the Austrian-made pistol has a safety mechanism that prevents it from discharging if dropped. A by-stander says the prince seemed unaware anything had happened outside the trendy restaurant in West London.

Fears of Renewed Terrorism

Guns — and how to get the Irish Republican Army to decommission them — remain one of the major sticking points in Northern Ireland's struggling peace process.

The Guardian reports two key pro-British members of Parliament from the troubled region have walked out on talks aimed at reviving the Good Friday peace agreement. The news comes as British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern present a "take it or leave it" peace package to politicians on all sides of the conflict.

There are fears of renewed terrorist violence if the peace process breaks down.

Royal Bigmouths

While Blair and Ahern try to coax Northern Ireland's politicians back to the bargaining table, the Daily Express has a less encouraging message for two members of Britain's royal family.

"Why don't you both shut up?" screams the headline at Prince Philip and his daughter Princess Anne.

Queen Elizabeth's husband allegedly brought a 13-year-old boy to tears when he told the lad, "You're too fat to be an astronaut." Andrew Adams had been waiting in line to meet the prince at a spacecraft exhibition.

Meanwhile, Princess Anne's gaffe happened during a walking tour of a Bengali community in East London. She is alleged to have told her host, "There are quite a lot of you from there."

The tabloid called this the "latest outbreak of foot in mouth."

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