So let me get this straight-ish:
One of the British newspapers was going to publish an accusation of some sort. They were quashed by the British courts, which are much freer with that whole "prior restraint" deal. Then another one of the newspapers was going to publish the name of the person requesting that the publication be quashed , and they were quashed in turn.
And then they were unquashed, and everybody published. Mind, because they were restricted to publishing only the name of the person requesting the quashing, the stories they were publishing were more or less complete hash. They could only dance delicately around things to keep from getting into trouble.
Of course, because non-British papers aren't subject to their laws, they can publish with wild abandon, and translate this mess into something resembling English. And so Gaywired, of all possible places, puts the whole thing into more or less comprehensible (if seriously over the top in the headline) English:
Is The Future King A Queen?: (London, UK) Details are finally emerging about allegations Britain's Prince Charles had a sexual affair with one of his aides, Michael Fawcett. So concerned are Charles' supporters about suggestions he could be bisexual, they have succeeded in getting a court order banning publication in the UK of any of the details. The Prince then took the extraordinary step of issuing a denial of the allegations. "Anyone who knows the Prince of Wales at all would appreciate that the allegation is totally ludicrous and, indeed, risible," the Prince's secretary Sir Michael Peat said in an unprecedented statement on the matter. But, with the media unable to to print what it was he was denying having done, it served to worsen the crisis.
You wonder that Charles is allowed out without a keeper, you really do. And someday, this man is going to be the head of state.
According to other reports, Charles wanted to sue the newspapers, as well as simply quashing the article. Of course, that would not only have produced the terribly odd spectacle of a newspaper being sued over something it didn't publish, but then he would be forced to testify about his sex life in detail on the stand. One gathers that his associates convinced him that it is, to put it mildly, unseemly to have the head of state on the stand, pointing and saying, "I did not have sex with that man, the former servant!" One imagines that they may well have drawn on unfortunate recent parallels, as it were.
In the meantime, Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler, is running around Chicago giving stunningly uninformative interviews to all and sundry to promote his book, and doing impressively uninformative op-eds in the British press.
Really, monarchies can be so very entertaining!
The enquashed newspaper, by the by, is appealing the decision to be quashed:
Legal challenge from newspaper over royal allegations (The Scotsman, Tuesday, November 11, 2003): A JUDGE was urged yesterday to allow the public to be given "the whole story" about the allegations concerning Prince Charles and a former royal servant. The ex-aide, Michael Fawcett, asked Lord Brodie at the Court of Session for an order banning publication of details of the allegation made by George Smith, another former member of the prince’s staff. However, lawyers for the Mail on Sunday newspaper maintained that it was time for the public to be fully informed so people could make up their own minds about the so-called scandal. Lord Brodie hopes to give his ruling today but indicated that, after a full day of argument, he might need more time. Yesterday, Craig Sandison, counsel for Mr Fawcett, said he was seeking an interim interdict to prevent publication of details of the alleged homosexual activity. He explained that Mr Fawcett was concerned that the false information might, in the minds of some readers, add to the credibility of the allegations.
I note from the quote of the article above that the normally more or less respectable Scotsman is skirting perilously close to the enquashing line itself; that's the clearest statement of what's going on that I've actually seen in a British paper. They have actually published that Prince Charles is being accused of "alleged homosexual activity" with Mr Fawcett, more or less in those words. One would think that the Scotsman is now in terribly hot water indeed.Posted by iain at November 12, 2003 12:00 AM