Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Prince Albert accepts libel damages

Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene have accepted damages from Times Newspapers Ltd

Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene, have accepted an offer of damages over a Sunday Times story which suggested she was reluctant to marry him.

The couple were not at London's High Court for the settlement of their libel action against Times Newspapers Ltd.

The 54-year-old monarch's solicitor, Mark Thomson, said the July 2011 article - which appeared two days after their wedding - accused the prince of having the princess's passport confiscated at Nice airport to prevent her from fleeing Monaco.

It suggested she was reluctant to marry because she had discovered the existence of a third love child, but agreed to the marriage for the sake of appearances in return for payment with a view to obtaining an annulment after a seemly interval.

"None of these allegations are true," Mr Thomson told Mr Justice Eady.

He said that the newspaper had admitted that they were untrue and accepted liability for making such defamatory claims.

It had apologised and confirmed it would pay the couple damages, to be assessed at a later stage if not agreed, and their legal costs.

Mr Thomson said that the article, entitled "The full filthy Monte" and "Curse of the Grimaldis", falsely alleged that Prince Albert had turned a blind eye to corrupt activity by his courtiers and done nothing effective to curb the activities of mobsters and money launderers in Monaco.

It also made the false claim that he had granted residency to foreigners on the request of advisers or friends for fear of their disclosing embarrassing secrets about his love life.

Mr Thomson said that the publication caused the newly-weds enormous upset and embarrassment - particularly so in view of the huge publicity and worldwide interest given to their wedding. Solicitor Rupert Earle, for Times Newspapers, offered its sincere apologies for the damage and distress caused.

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