Tributes pour in for royal reporter James Whitaker

Wednesday February 15, 2012

Fellow journalists and royalty have led tributes to former royal editor of the Daily Mirror, James Whitaker.

The newspaper confirmed that the 71-year-old died on Wednesday following a battle with cancer.

The reporter was legendary in his field, and was renowned worldwide for his exclusive royal coverage. 

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "Those in the Royal Household who knew him were extremely sad to learn of his death."

Current editor of the Daily Mirror Richard Wallace said: "James was a true Fleet Street legend who became famous around the world as a royal reporter.

“His colleagues often joked that at times he appeared grander than the royals themselves - which, of course, he loved.

“Despite the severity of his illness, he never complained or went in for self-pity, but insisted he had a life well lived.

“Our thoughts are with his loving family who - like us all - will miss him terribly."

His son Thomas, who is Director of News at HELLO!, said the family had been touched by the messages of tribute and support, which had included personal phone calls from the Duchess of York shortly before his death.

Thomas said his father had been a pioneer of royal reporting but combined it with "old fashioned journalism, knocking on doors".

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