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Blair Dismisses Diana Grief Critics

April 19, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ Critics of Britain’s outpouring of grief over Princess Diana’s death are snobs, Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a television interview broadcast Sunday.

Blair’s comments were the latest in a controversy sparked by a new publication by a right-wing think-tank that described Diana as muddled and self-obsessed, and criticized ``mob grief″ over her death Aug. 31.

``They are perfectly entitled to their view ... but I think there is an element of snobbery about it,″ Blair said of ``Faking It: The Sentimentalization of Modern Society,″ which was published Friday.

``When they go on about fake sentimentality in relation to Princess Diana _ people really felt like that,″ added Blair, interviewed by Sky Television during a Middle East tour.

``Why it is fake just because there happen to be a lot of people in the country who feel like that?″

In the publication by the Social Affairs Unit, a series of academics said Britain is dominated by self-indulgence and sentimentality that was epitomized in Diana’s funeral _ ``the elevation of feelings above reason, reality and restraint.″

Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Diana’s sons have turned down an invitation to spend part of their summer holiday with her sister, Lady Sarah McQuordale, opting instead to stay with their father, Prince Charles.

Prince William, 15, and Prince Harry, 13, have also refused an invitation from Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, to attend a pop concert in her memory this summer at Althorp, the Spencer family home, British media reported.

Buckingham Palace had no comment.

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