Prince Albert II of Monaco has lost a free press court case against French magazine Paris Match that had published about the prince's out-of-wedlock child. The European Court Of Human Rights has rejected Prince Albert's claim for breach of his privacy as the case involved a child, the court has ruled.
Weekly magazine Paris Match published a story in May 2005 in which Nicole Coste, a French-Togolese flight attendant, claimed that her son's father was Albert Grimaldi, reigning prince of Monaco. According to the court's ruling, Prince Albert had sent notice to the magazine to refrain it from publishing the article, which consisted of an interview with Coste.
Despite the prince's notice, the article appeared in the German weekly magazine Bunte on 4 May 2005 and in Paris Match a day later. The article even carried photographs showing Prince Albert with the child in his arms.
In France, the prince was paid €50,000 (£35,000, $59,000) in non-pecuniary damages as he sued both publications. The French court also ordered that details of the judgement be printed on Paris Match's entire front cover, under the headline "Court order against Paris Match at the request of Prince Albert II of Monaco".
Two years after Prince Albert II, son of American actress Grace Kelly who became Princess Grace, publicly acknowledged in July 2005 that he was the child's father, the case was filed in 2007 with the European Court.
The European Court has ruled that although the magazine had violated freedom of expression, the content of the article involving existence of a child is beyond the matter of breaching of the prince's privacy.
"It observed that the disputed publication admittedly concerned the sphere of Prince Albert's private life, but considered that the essential element of the information contained in the article – the child's existence – went beyond the private sphere, given the hereditary nature of the Prince's functions as the Monegasque Head of State," the ruling said.
Prince Albert is married to former South African Olympic swimmer, Princess Charlene. The royal couple welcomed the birth of their boy and girl twins last year.