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Queen Accepts Tabloid's Apology

February 16, 1993|WILLIAM TUOHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II accepted a front-page apology by the tabloid Sun newspaper on Monday and its offer to pay about $285,000 as punishment for publishing her annual Christmas message two days early.

A statement from Buckingham Palace said the queen is prepared to drop legal proceedings she undertook when the Sun broke the embargo on her televised speech, sent out in advance so that it could be widely distributed. The queen asserted that her copyright on the speech had been breached.

"Her majesty is content to regard the matter as settled since the making of the payment by the newspaper must be seen as recognizing the basis of the claim," the statement said.

A palace spokesman said the money from the Sun will be divided between the Save the Children Fund and the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, which operates homes for the disabled.

In its apology, the Sun insisted that it believed publication of the fairly routine royal message was not illegal.

But as the palace noted: "As the Sun now recognizes, the publication did cause personal offense to the queen (and) it also caused offense amongst those who prefer to hear or see her majesty's Christmas message for the first time on Christmas Day."

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