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The Week That Was: In the Line of Duty

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You could be forgiven this week for thinking there was nothing more important going on in the world than the unveiling of semi-nude photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.

On one side of the world, our future queen kept a never fading, gracious smile fixed for the cameras, as her nine-day tour of the Far East and South Pacific came to an end. On the other, her lawyers, magazine editors, media commentators and every one in-between had their say on the rights and wrongs of publishing the now infamous topless snaps.

And then nestled amidst the debate and general denouncement of French editors and their principles, perhaps the white elephant in the argument: would the British tabloids have been so well behaved if Lord Leveson's pronouncement hadn't been hovering on the horizon?

Lessons learnt for the royal family? Nowhere is truly private anymore, if it ever really was, and while one prince falls foul of the ubiquitous camera phone in Vegas, the other is now under no illusions that long-lens cameras haven't yet been replaced by iPhones. No matter how many injunctions are served, and how high the fines leveled, the world's fascination with our royal family shows no sign of abating.

If they are feeling hard done by, however, there was plenty of news to put blush-inducing photos into perspective.

For the families of police officers Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, this has been a tragic week, and a stark reminder to the whole population of the risks so many people take every day in the line of duty.

As David Cameron visited Manchester yesterday to pay his respects to the murdered police officers, some miles south in Oxfordshire, crowds of mourners turned out to see the coffins of Sergeant Gareth Thursby, Private Thomas Wroe and Lance Corporal Duane Groom brought home from Afghanistan.

While their sad deaths sparked the inevitable barrage of arguments both for and against our troops deployment in Afghanistan, the three families were dignified and united in their grief.

Away from the front-line, our nation's teachers and schools stepped up to their duties and joined together in an effort to protect the thousands of students at risk of losing their sixth-form or college places thanks to the last-minute reclassification of C grades in this summer's GCSE results.

More than 100 schools, 36 councils and seven teaching bodies have formed an alliance which is threatening unprecedented legal action at the High Court if Ofqual and the exam bodies AQA and Edexcel refuse to re-grade the GCSE English papers at the heart of the dispute.

With some 65,000 students' futures hanging in the balance, maybe someone high up in Ofqual will be prepared to admit there was a mistake and even apologise. If they do, let's hope it can be made as tuneful as Nick Clegg's.

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