As he stood for photographs with his teenage daughters beside Barack and Michelle Obama, a smiling Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, must have thought he was getting the ultimate family album picture.
It did not occur to him that official Obama pictures are uploaded on to the US state department’s Flickr page, or that the black clothes and calf-high boots worn by one of his offspring might brighten the lives of Spain’s adolescent goths.
Yesterday his office was scrambling to remove all traces of the snaps, alleging that – unlike the Obamas – Zapatero has always kept his daughters, Laura, 16, and Alba, 13, out of the public eye. Officials also persuaded the state-owned Spanish news agency EFE not to distribute photographs of the two girls at the UN.
They reportedly reminded the agency that the law allowed Zapatero and his wife to insist images of their underage children should not be published – even with their faces pixellated out. However, the photograph was on the front page on several national Spanish newspapers – for many Spaniards their first glimpse of the prime minister’s full family.
EFE confirmed it had decided not to distribute pictures of Mr Zapatero’s daughters as soon as it received them because “they should not have their personal rights prejudiced by the prime minister’s decision to take them to New York.”
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