As has been widely reported in the weekend press, Prince Charles managed to secure a legal victory last Friday in his legal battle with Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Mail on Sunday, after a high court judgment ruled that his copyright and confidentiality had been infringed when the newspaper published extracts from his private 1997 journal about the handover of Hong Kong.
The high court had been asked to decide whether the prince's claims that his copyright had been infringed and his confidence breached should be heard in front of a jury at a full trial or could be dealt with summarily by the judge.
As the Guardian reports the judgment concluded that there was no need for a trial. Handing down a 193-paragraph judgment, Mr Justice Blackburne dismissed the newspaper's arguments that in publishing extracts from the prince's journal last November it was legitimately publicising his views on matters of public importance and demonstrating the heir to the throne's interference in political affairs.
The only crumb of comfort for the newspaper was that the judge ruled that he could not make a decision on the remaining seven, so far unpublished, journals.
Associated Newspapers made the standard public interest statement to the press when suffering a defeat "We believe our report and this legal action both raise very serious questions about the constitutional role of the heir to the throne and the freedom of the press. It cannot be legitimate for the prince to claim the right to engage in political controversy and at the same time deny the public the right to know that he is doing so."
Prince Charles should be congratulated on conducting a high risk strategy of taking legal action and thus far pulling it off. I have no sympathy for the newspaper primarily due to the fact that they obtained the journals after they were wrongfully copied by a former employee in the prince's private offices and then made their way into the hands of the Mail on Sunday.