Royals win gossip magazine legal battle
25 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princess Maxima, won their legal battle against gossip magazine Prive on Wednesday when Amsterdam Court ruled that publications containing photos of their Wassenaar mansion were “unlawful”.
The court ruled that the magazine may no longer use the photos and any breach of the ruling carries a risk of being fined EUR 25,000 per photo. Prive was also ordered to destroy all photos, published or not, within five days.
The weekly magazine published last year a large number of photos of the interior of the villa De Eikenhorst when renovation works were still being carried out on the residence before the couple moved in. Even the toilet was pictured in the photos, which were taken by a builder.
Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima — who was pregnant at the time with the nation’s future queen, Princess Amalia — were angered by the photos and launched legal action against the magazine.
The royal couple said they felt their privacy had been infringed and hoped to prevent repeat incidents by setting a legal precedent, news agency ANP reported.
No ruling was made about how the photos were made and the media may continue taking photos of the outside of the royal couple mansion. Alexander and Maxima lost a previous battle against the taking of photographs of the outside of the mansion.
And the court ruled that despite the photos “exposed little” and were “reasonably innocent”, their publication in combination with the attached text breached the royal couple’s right to privacy, public news service NOS reported.
According to the court, the restrictions placed on the freedom of the press as a result of the court ruling were “justifiable and necessary in a democratic society”.
It also said that the respect of privacy in this case weighed heavier than the right to freedom of expression and that the news value in a satisfying curiosity cannot be accepted as a reason of public interest, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
The court also ruled against the possibility of a compensation claim because the royal couple did not convincingly demonstrate that they suffered a certain amount of financial damage.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news