Prince slaps gagging order on Sunday Mail

Scottish Sunday: ban on story

In a rare move, Prince Charles has obtained a court ban on newspaper revelations which he claims invade his privacy and are not in the public interest.

The Prince’s legal team was granted the gagging order in the Court of Session in Edinburgh to stop the Sunday Mail revealing details from a book written by his former housekeeper, Wendy Berry.

English and Welsh newspapers were banned some time ago from using Berry’s book, published in the US, but the High Court order did not extend to Scotland.

The Mail’s lawyers are preparing to fight the interim interdict which restricts the paper from running with Berry’s account of life with the royals. The story would have been part of coverage of the ongoing scandal surrounding accusations of palace staff selling unwanted gifts given to members of the Royal Family.

Editor Allan Rennie said: "This is a blow against freedom of speech.   There are genuine and mounting concerns over the Royal Family’s expenditure. Our report would have provided important new insight.

"It is ridiculous that Americans can read these revelations and Scots can’t."

In an opinion piece headlined "The truth will out Charles", the Mail reminded its readers that, in 1936, all of America knew of King Edward’s affair with Wallis Simpson but ordinary Britons were kept in the dark, in deference to the throne.

"The interdict will, temporarily, stop us from revealing some home truths. We believe that no one, not even the heir to the throne, is above the law or beyond the scrutiny of a free press," it said.

The palace’s action proves it is caught in a timewarp, claimed the Mail, adding: "The one thing Prince Charles’s intervention has done is to focus debate on the future of the royals.

"Do we want a democracy with free speech where the public interest comes first? Or an outdated monarchy where privilege and self-interest rule?"

The paper ran an exclusive last weekend revealing that another butler, who faces charges of theft from Princess Diana, is still on the payroll.  

By Jean Morgan

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