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Charles, Diana roasted for lacking romance

Prince Charles and Princess Diana definitely weren't the British tabloids' Valentine's Day sweethearts.

Their first public kiss in a year nearly sparked a riot Thursday in India, where the couple is on an official visit. But royal watchers decided there was a distinct lack of romance in Charles' pursed-lipped peck, which landed on Diana's ear.

"Why Can't They Kiss The Way They Used To?," the Daily Star asked, under Friday's front-page banner headline "My Fuddy Valentine" and a picture of their lingering kiss at their fairy-tale wedding on July 29, 1981.

The Sun, Britain's largest-circulation newspaper, also published both photos on the front page with the headline: "From Kiss To This!"

It claimed the 43-year-old heir to the British throne tried to give his 30-year-old wife "an old-fashioned smacker on the lips," but said Diana coolly turned her head away.

Charles' failure to accompany his wife to the Taj Mahal, the Indian monument to a man's love for his wife, broke a promise the prince made years ago and put the royal marriage in the spotlight once again.

There was much speculation in the tabloids on whether Charles' kiss was an attempt to make amends for Diana's solo visit to the Taj Mahal _ and whether she was snubbing him.

The Sun said Diana was obviously self-conscious about the crowd of 20,000 watching her present a medal to her husband, who scored three goals in leading his team to a 4-3 victory at a polo match in Jaipur, India.

Thousands of spectators charged the field after the fleeting kiss. Baton-wielding police waded in and brought the situation under control in a few minutes.

The Daily Mirror, the country's second-largest daily, carried the polo kiss photo in its centerfold under the headline: "Oh Come On You Can Do Better Than That Charles."