The Prince of Wales has taken the highly unusual step of suing The Mail on Sunday over the publication of extracts from his private journals.
It is standard procedure for members of the royal family to rein back from legal action for fear of courting extra publicity. But the revelations, including allegations that Prince Charles described Chinese diplomats as “appalling old waxworks”, were considered so embarrassing that Clarence House has decided to seek redress in the courts.
The Mail on Sunday denied that it had breached confidentiality and said the Prince’s actions raised “serious issues about the freedom of the press”. It argued that the public had a right to know the views of the heir to the throne.
The newspaper obtained a copy of extracts from one of Prince Charles’ journals which contained his views on the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese. Legal papers were served on Associated Newspapers, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday yesterday.
In a statement, Clarence House said: “The Prince of Wales has reluctantly decided to take legal action against Associated Newspapers following the publication of extracts from his private journals in The Mail on Sunday. The Prince of Wales’ Office has been advised by its lawyers that The MoS has breached both the Prince of Wales’ copyright and confidentiality.”