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We all so want to admire Kate McCann Mm11

We all so want to admire Kate McCann Regist10

We all so want to admire Kate McCann

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We all so want to admire Kate McCann Empty We all so want to admire Kate McCann

Post by Jill Havern on 10.08.15 18:44

By Andrew Pierce
12:01AM BST 08 Sep 2007

So it has come to this: Kate McCann is a suspect in the disappearance of her daughter. How could it be true? She went to see the Pope, for God's sake.

As we try to come to terms with the incomprehensible, I ask you this: if, in the unlikely event that the police bring a case and Mrs McCann is charged and convicted, will we ever be able to trust human nature again?

The nation took Kate and Gerry McCann to its heart as they flew round the world, in a borrowed private jet, to try to raise awareness of their missing daughter who, conveniently for the media, looks like an angel. Because of their extraordinary efforts, the iconic image of Madeleine McCann is as seared into our national consciousness as that of Damilola Taylor skipping to his death.

Yet, have you never felt a sense of unease at their omnipresence in the papers and on television? No aspect of their grief seemed out of bounds. We have seen them deep in prayer in church. There was the photograph of them walking arm-in-arm on a deserted beach, reminiscent of Diana photographed alone at a conveniently empty Taj Mahal.

And then there is the almost pitiful sight of Mrs McCann clutching Madeleine's favourite cuddly toy. Was I alone in wondering whether that was for comfort or because it was what the PR advisers suggested?

When I heard the jaw-dropping report yesterday that Mrs McCann was a suspect, my eyes settled on the photograph in The Daily Telegraph of an attractive, middle-class couple kissing each other.

They could have been on holiday, or on their honeymoon. They were, of course, Madeleine's parents, in yet another stage-managed photograph just as she was about to be questioned by the police. Hardly the time for a dreamy embrace.

Yet only last month I listened to Mr McCann at the Edinburgh Television Festival objecting to the intrusive media coverage.
Mr McCann said that their 30-second encounter with the Pope in St Peter's Square was "more personal than I could ever imagine". I couldn't imagine. The square was packed with pilgrims, not to mention the millions watching on television.

I salute their courage in trying to prevent Madeleine becoming just another forgotten missing-child statistic. Some of my friends who are parents tell me that, if they had been trapped in the same nightmare, they would not have been able to face the media at all, let alone three times a day. But they have not lost a child, of course.

We have been transfixed by the story because Madeleine is a pretty child whose parents are as removed as it is possible to be from the stereotypical image of a single mother going to the Costa Brava leaving the kids home alone. The fact that they are doctors, who save lives rather than take them, added to our fascination.

How many times in the past 127 days have you debated whether you would leave a three-year-old and two-year-old twin siblings, without adult supervision, while dining in a tapas bar a 52-second walk away?

But the other reason we have been absorbed is because we're filled with a mixture of admiration and disbelief at the way Kate McCann always appeared so immaculate in public, when most mums would have broken down long ago.
We so want to admire her. I hope at the end of this we still do.

To the magnificent O2 concert arena on Wednesday night, where Elton John at 60 showed there is still fire in the Rocket Man. After 30 years at the top, he knows all about the highs and lows in the media.

So how we cheered when he dedicated Tiny Dancer to Jane Tomlinson, the fundraiser who lost her heroic battle against cancer this week.

We cheered even louder when he said those nonentities Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears could take a lesson in dignity from her.

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Jill Havern
Jill Havern
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