By Fiona Govan in Madrid
The daughters of Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, have won sympathy from the daughter of failed presidential candidate John McCain after being chastised for being "goths".
The teenage girls found themselves at the centre of a row after a photograph of them dressed in baggy black dresses and chunky boots meeting Barack and Michelle Obama in New York last week was published across the world.
The image showed the two girls, Laura, 16, and Alba, 13, standing alongside their parents and the US President and First lady and was uploaded, according to White House protocol of official visits, on to the US State department’s Flickr page.
It was the first time that Spain got a glimpse of the daughters of Mr Zapatero, who, aided by Spain’s strict privacy laws, has always done his utmost to keep them out of the public eye.
The images made their way onto several of Spain’s front pages despite a call to the White House to remove the photo and government officials persuading the state-owned Spanish news agency EFE not to distribute it to Spanish media.
Spain’s pundits made much of the discovery that the teenage pair chose to meet the President garbed in typical "goth" outfits, complete with limp hair, dark nail varnish and black eyeliner.
But the adolescent girls have found a friend in 24-year-old Meghan McCain, the daughter of the Republican senator, who used her blog to voice support of the pair.
"There has been somewhat of a fury on the internet chastising these two girls for their attire," she wrote in her column on the Daily Beast website.
"It makes me very sad that these two girls are enduring a sort of baptism by fire with the media scrutiny that surrounds their family portrait with the Obamas.
"Not only are they not used to being photographed, but their first foray into being photographed and criticised is on a very public scale with the most famous and powerful politicians in the entire world."
Miss McCain, who has been in the public eye since a young age, admitted that she used to dress like the Spice Girls.
"As a 13- to 14-year-old I used to dress up like Baby Spice, complete with the pigtails and wedge boots. I am sure had I had my picture taken with the president and first lady at the time. But I was a young adolescent, and I didn’t know better.
"Now, I don’t know why the prime minister’s daughters chose to express themselves through goth attire and quite frankly I don’t care.
© The Telegraph
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