An Italian magazine's decision to print a photo of a dying Princess Diana set off anger Friday in Britain, with tabloid newspapers leading the protests against the image and her sons expressing sadness.

The black-and-white photo in Milan-based Chi magazine showed the princess receiving oxygen in the wreckage of the car crash that killed her on Aug. 31, 1997. The picture was excerpted from "Lady Diana: The Criminal Investigation," a new book by French author Jean-Michel Caradec'h.

"Shame on you," scolded the tabloid Sun. The Daily Express called the image "grotesque" and swore not to reprint it. The Daily Mirror said the magazine's editor acted "shamelessly."

Diana's sons, princes William and Harry, issued condemned the decision to publish the photo of their ailing mother.

"We feel deeply saddened that such a low has been reached," they said in a statement released Friday by their father's office, Clarence House. "Despite the support shown to us and our mother's memory by so many people over the last eight years, we feel that as her sons we would be failing in our duty to her now if we did not protect her as she once did us."

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund said the photos were in poor taste.

"A lot of people are appalled by the decision," said Mitali Atal, a fund spokeswoman. "The editor hasn't thought about the affect the photos would have on her family. It is completely unnecessary."

Harrods department store boss Mohamed al Fayed, whose son Dodi also died in the crash, said he was angered by the publication.

"This heartless pursuit of money brings shame on those responsible for producing such a vile publication," al Fayed said in a statement Thursday. "The editor and the author, who probably have families of their own, have no thought for the feelings of those who loved the princess, first and foremost her sons, the Princes William and Harry."

The magazine's editor, Umberto Brindani, told Britain's Press Association that the photograph was "touching" and "tender" but not offensive.

"As a thorough and informative news magazine, we have merely reported the publication of a book in France regarding Princess Diana's death," Brindani told PA. "We were the first magazine to publish them but I understand that others in Europe — France and Spain — will also publish shortly."