The Queen and the Daily Mirror have resolved their dispute over the revelations by a reporter who infiltrated the Royal Household by getting a job as a footman.
Lawyers acting for the Queen said the Royal Family was prepared to take further court action to defend its privacy.
A temporary court ban was imposed last Thursday preventing the Mirror from publishing any further articles. But on Monday Mr Justice Gavin Lightman in the High Court was told that terms had been reached under which the Mirror agreed to a permanent ban on publication of any further material. The paper also agreed to pay £25,000 towards the Queen’s legal costs.
After Jonathan Sumption, QC, counsel for the Queen, announced the settlement, the judge said: “Plainly, resolution of this dispute is in the public interest and the terms are entirely proper.”
Marcus Partington, for the Mirror, said afterwards: “The point of our story was to show the weaknesses in royal security. We did not need to publish any further details to do that. This is why we voluntarily submitted to an injunction today. “The palace must, by implication, have accepted that we acted in the public interest as it has dropped its claim for damages for breach of confidence.”
In announcing the settlement, Sumption told the judge: “The general thrust of the articles was to reveal that the vetting processes for those who work at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle were insufficient.
“It is, of course, accepted that there was a public interest in disclosing such matters to the proper authorities, and the Security Commission has been asked to review these vetting procedures. But the proper authorities do not include the Daily Mirror and the large proportion of what Mr [Ryan] Parry wrote had nothing to do with lapses of security.”
He went on to warn that the palace would take a tough line with any future incidents involving its privacy.
“The Queen and the Royal Family are entitled to a proper measure of privacy in their personal lives,” he said.
“They are also entitled to trust those who serve in their households, without having to make the corrosive assumption that their confidence may be betrayed at any moment with impunity.
“The small minority of people who are not willing to respect even these principles of ordinary human courtesy must expect that recourse will be had in the courts whenever it is appropriate.”
During his statement, Sumption branded Parry’s story as “a highly objectionable invasion of privacy, devoid of any legitimate interest”.
He told the judge the agreement now reached included a permanent court order banning any further disclosures by Parry or MGN and requiring the Mirror to hand over all unpublished photographs and unpublished documents obtained by Parry while working for the Royal Family, to destroy any unpublished stories, as well as undertaking not to republish certain material already published or syndicate already published material.
‘IN TIME THE ROYAL FAMILY WILL COME TO THANK RYAN PARRY’ SAYS MORGAN
Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, left, claimed the legal settlement was an implicit recognition from the Queen that the paper’s recent royal revelations were in the public interest.
He said: “I am delighted that the Queen has dropped her legal action against the Daily Mirror.
This was an important investigation, massively in the public interest, which will lead to a complete overhaul of the Royal Family’s security.
Royal splash: Parry’s scoop
“If we had not carried out this investigation then the many flaws in the security system surrounding the royals would not have been exposed. It was necessary to deploy subterfuge to establish how easy it would have been for a terrorist to become a royal footman.
“We have no wish to cause any further embarrassment to Her Majesty or have an ongoing legal battle with the palace. And we fully understand why Prince Andrew and Prince Edward would prefer not to have their quite fascinating bedrooms exposed to any further scrutiny.
“It would also be fair to say that we did not have much more material to publish that would have added greatly to our investigation in any case.
“The fact that the palace has dropped its claim for damages against us for alleged breach of confidence indicates that the Queen implicitly recognises there was legitimate public interest in our disclosures – however uncomfortable they may have been to read.
“I believe the Royal Family will in time come to thank Ryan Parry for doing them a favour by exposing very serious lapses in their security system.”
By Roger Pearson