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Shortly thereafter, The Sunday Times apologized to its readers, though the apology itself also came in for ridicule. “Serious journalism is a high-risk enterprise,” it began, but critics suggested that this was not an instance of serious journalism, which is better researched and documented.

Mr. Trevor-Roper apologized to Mr. Giles. Mr. Murdoch, by all accounts, apologized to no one and ousted Mr. Giles as editor, giving him the nonjob of editor emeritus to serve out the final two years of his contract.

Years later, in 2012, when Mr. Murdoch, then 81, was testifying at an unrelated inquiry into wrongdoing in his newsrooms, he finally admitted he had erred in publishing the diaries.

“I take full responsibility for it,” he said. “It was a major mistake and one I shall have to live with for the rest of my life.”

Frank Thomas Robertson Giles was born on July 31, 1919, in London. His father, also named Frank, an officer in the Royal Engineers, died when Frank was 10. His mother, Elgiva (Ackland-Allen) Giles, took in lodgers to make ends meet. He later won a history scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford.

In 1942, Mr. Giles went to work for the war office, then the foreign office. He served for a time as a private secretary to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, and hoped to become a diplomat himself but failed the examination.

He married Lady Katherine Sackville in 1946, and they had three children. He is survived by his daughter, Belinda, and son, Henry. His wife died in 2010, and another daughter, Sarah, died in 2014.



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