Maxima's email

21st July 2003, Comments 0 comments

News of celebrity pregnancies sell and the media makes the most of such occasions, but was it right to publish the full text of the private email Princess Maxima sent to her family and friends?

News of celebrity pregnancies sell and the media makes the most of such occasions, but was it right to publish the full text of the private email Princess Maxima sent to her family and friends?

Just about all media outlets seem to be convinced these days that it is absolutely essential that everyone be constantly updated about the changing moods on Wall Street, the strength of the Yen and the price of a barrel of crude oil.

Here in the Netherlands, the newspapers, radio and television cannot wait to tell us about the state of the AEX index, a decline in German production prices and who has made a profit and who has not.

Important information, no doubt, but not exactly something you want to gossip about down in the pub. So, journalists like Koen de Regt of BusinessNieuws Radio cannot really expect to get a juicy scoop to tantalise the masses.

Or at least that was the case until Wednesday 18 June when a friend forwarded De Regt an email sent by Argentinean born Princess Maxima informing her family and friends in English and Spanish that she was three-months pregnant

This was the news the media had been waiting for since the royal couple tied the knot on 2 February 2002. The gossip magazines, frustrated at what they saw as the slow pace of affairs, have outdone each other over the past few months with groundless speculation: one reported Maxima was expecting; another said she was infertile and a third pronounced confidently that twins were on the way.

In light of the very public conjecture, confirmation of the pregnancy via the leaked email was news and BusinessNieuws Radio had little option but to break the story, even though the email made clear that the State information service, RVD, was going to make the official public announcement later that day.

So far so good: the public got to hear the joyous news a few hours earlier than would have been the case and the media had a big story. But the bare news of the pregnancy on its own wasn't enough, the public needed detail and the media was going to give it.

Several media outlets, including Expatica, published the full transcript of Maxima's private email, complete with asides, multiple question and exclamation marks, words typed out in capitals and her request for tips on where to get the right clothes, shoes and baby buggies.

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