A British newspaper argued Wednesday that it published excerpts of Prince Charles’ diaries to show his political leanings.
Charles charges that the Mail on Sunday newspaper violated his privacy by publishing extracts of a private diary he said was leaked by an ex-employee. Charles has not asked for damages but wants the return of seven other journals.
The newspaper contends that printing the diaries was in the public interest because they show the prince’s political beliefs. It contends that Charles was trying to influence decision-makers when he circulated the diaries to a group of more than 40 people.
The diary, written after a visit to Hong Kong in 1997, describes China’s leaders as “appalling old waxworks,” which Mark Warby, a lawyer for the Mail on Sunday, called a political statement.
“He was not saying these people look a bit funny but this is a splendid regime,” Warby told a High Court judge Wednesday. “He was saying this is a terrible bunch of people, just like the old Soviet regime, and we must not associate with them. He was expressing political hostility.”
The journal, entitled “The Handover of Hong Kong, or the Great Chinese Takeaway,” was obtained by the Sunday newspaper, which published parts of it in November, 2005. On Tuesday, the 3,000-word document was released to the media.
Along with political observations, the journal includes Charles’ musings on the discomfort of the 14-hour flight to Hong Kong.
He and his staff sat on the top deck of a British Airways 747, “in what is normally club class.
“It took me some time to realize this was not first class (!) although it puzzled me as to why the seat seemed so uncomfortable,” the prince wrote. He then learned that various government ministers, also making the trip east, were sitting downstairs in first class.
“‘Such is the end of Empire,’ I sighed to myself,” he wrote.
The hearing was expected to last another day.