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Complainant Name:
Dr A D Harvey

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Times Literary Supplement


Dr A.D Harvey complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published an inaccurate account of an "alternate" ending to Hans Christian Andersen's ‘The Emperor's New Clothes', which did not in fact exist, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.


The complaint was resolved after the PCC negotiated the publication of the following correction:

On February 21 we published a Commentary article, "The invisible robe", that described a draft translation of Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Mary Howitt; the source cited was the Hackney archive. It has come to our attention that the archive holds no such document (see the Letter from Solveig Brunholm on p. 6).

The correction cross-referenced with the following letter from a representative of the Hans Christian Andersen Centre in Denmark:

Sir, -

In your issue of February 21, you launched a piece of news about "The invisible robe. An alternative ending to a famous tale" by Hans Christian Andersen - an alternative ending to "The Emperor's New Clothes", translated by Mary Howitt in 1847. As that really was a piece of news, I contacted the Hackney Archives, where the alleged manuscript was said to be.

They have recently answered that they do not have such a manuscript. Nor am I aware of the existence of such a manuscript in another archive. Consequently, I have to conclude that the story of Mary Howitt's "alternative ending" was a fabrication.

Date Published: 20/06/2014

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