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British prime minister blasts growth of `Diana industry'

Prime Minister Tony Blair has criticized the industry that has grown up around Princess Diana's death as "inappropriate and tacky."

Former Prime Minister John Major, who acts as guardian of the financial interests of Diana's sons, Princes William and Harry, also expressed concern Saturday night at the commercialization and recent "shoddy" publicity about the princess.Their concern centers on the widspread sale of Diana-related memorabilia, books and films, although no specific instances were cited.

Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31.

A spokesman for the prime minister confirmed reports in several Sunday papers that Blair is concerned about the growth of the "Diana industry."

The prime minister thinks "some of the things that had happened were inappropriate and tacky," the spokesman said, speaking with customary anonymity.

In a statement to the British news agency Press Association, Major said: "I am sure the Princess of Wales' dearest wish would have been to protect her sons.

"Much of the publicity now emerging is shoddy and can only add to their distress. The public's affection for the Princess of Wales is evident. I hope they will ignore tasteless material."

The Independent on Sunday quoted a source complaining about a Princess of Wales ashtray on sale to tourists in London and an Internet computer game that allows players to drive a speeding Mercedes through a tunnel while being pursued by paparazzi on motorbikes - simulating the car crash in which Diana died.

In the next two weeks, the paper said trustees of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund expected to finalize a copyright agreement to protect the use of photographs of the princess.