Paper Apologizes to William for Deer Tale
But there was one minor problem: The tale was not true.
Now, all this time later, his advisers have finally received an apology from the newspaper whose initial report sparked the outrage against William, PEOPLE's London bureau reports.
The original story, printed in the Mail on Sunday Aug. 10, 2003, was headlined "William Kills Bambi Deer with Masai Warrior Spear" and said the heir to the throne, who turns 22 next week, had killed the 14-in. animal in cold blood during a visit to a ranch owned by the family of pal Jessica Craig (with whom he has been linked).
The story – whose reputed source was an 18-year-old Masai warrior – was picked up around the world, with Pink reportedly even writing to William to express her anger "that you purposely rammed a spear through a tiny deer in Africa."
The following week, the paper followed up with another story that claimed William had also accidentally killed a deer with a tranquilizer while on a 2000 trip to Chile.
Now, however, The Mail on Sunday has admitted that both stories were not true.
"Having investigated the matter further, we are happy to accept his position that neither incident took place and accept that – in regard to the first article – we should have put the allegations to him in advance," the paper wrote in a brief story on page two, adding: "We apologize to Prince William."
The moves underline a new aggressive approach by the palace where stories about Princes William and Harry, 19, are concerned.
While the palace previously turned the other cheek in such instances, Paddy Harverson, the new communications secretary at the Prince of Wales's office at Clarence House, vowed Monday to be "more determined" in taking a strong line against inaccurate stories printed about the princes.