Princess Madeleine of Sweden took German papers to court over stories published between 2000 and 2004. The last act of this drama was now played out in Germany’s High Court and ended in a resounding victory for the Princess.
The German press is amongst the most inventive in the world’s publishing industry, which means that its standard on veracity is one of the lowest in the world. Several gossip magazines now have been sentenced to pay heavy damages to Princess Madeleine of Sweden for stories published during the years 2000 and 2004 which the court found were ‘freely invented without a shred of fact to them’.
One of the stories that got caught in the backlash was the claim that the Princess had dated Prince William of Wales. Despite receiving official denials, the papers persisted in continued publication of this purely made-up fact and refused to print the official denials.
The other and more serious story widely circulated was the allegation that Roger Moore was the real father of Princess Madeleine and not King Carl XVI Gustav. To support their claim, they had to invent a slanderous story implicating Queen Silvia of Sweden, obviously.
Had either of the Swedish Royal couple taken the offending magazines and newspapers to court, the whole rather minor affair would have taken on the dimension of a state affair. As the Princess took them to court as a private citizen, the court case was subsequently held rather low key. Now the Princess has been awarded over £250,000 in damages in a final ruling by the German High Court. A speaker for the Princess said that the money would go to charities, but that the recipients had not yet been decided on.
Princess Madeleine is not the first Royal to take German papers to court. Princess Caroline of Hanover and Monaco has been a frequent plaintiff in front of courts in Germany and the United Kingdom. But there is a difference between the one time court case of the Swedish Princess and the permanent barrage of cases aimed at newspapers all over Europe by the Monegasque Princess; Princess Madeleine retaliated for a few specific and made-up stories, while Princess Caroline campaigned in a preventive strike.
When Princess Caroline made her court cases in Germany, she was looking out for court orders preventing papers to publish similar stories in future. But such judgements were not forthcoming as they would have been in contravention to German law and the human right for freedom of speech.
Princess Caroline therefore took her complaints to courts in the United Kingdom where the laws allow you to gag anybody about anything, no matter if what they say is the proven truth or a blatant lie. With the Hanoverian successes in British courts on gagging the press in Europe (at least), libel tourism became one of the major industries that support the British economy. If you are unable to produce anything, at least you may export destruction, it seems.
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