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Brits Too Starchy Over Name, Laundry Owner Says

July 29, 1988

VISTA, Calif. (AP) _ A royal snafu has erupted over a dry cleaner’s insistence on using the nickname she has had since childhood: Lady Di.

The British government frowns on anyone taking the royal family’s names in vain, including Diana, wife of Prince Charles, and twice has asked Diane Storoni to rename her establishment in Vista, about 45 miles north of San Diego.

″It’s my name and I’m not going to change it for anybody,″ said Storoni, who says her family has called her Lady Di since she was a baby. ″That’s that. I, personally, don’t think she (the Princess of Wales) cares about this.″

Angus Mackay, spokesman at the British consulate in Los Angeles, said the names of members of the royal family are ″never used in commercial solicitation either in Britain or anywhere in the world.″

He also doesn’t like the way Storoni advertises her company as ″Cleaners to the Royal Family.″ The radio commercial features an impersonation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The advertisement ″cheapens not only the royal family themselves, but also the humanitarian values with which they are so closely associated around the world,″ Mackay wrote in a June 14 letter.

Mackay said the consulate has received several letters from local residents offended by the ads.

He said a British company can advertise that it provides goods or services to the royal family only if designated ″by appointment to the royal family.″

″We simply wanted to make the company aware of all of that,″ he said, ″and it’s really up to the company to decide what they want to do. We certainly don’t intend to take it any further.″

But Storoni does. She wants to open a Lady Di plant in London next year.

And for anyone who is offended, her business partner, Gennaro Marinelli, said, ″Perhaps you might suggest a little less starch in their laundry.″