Princess Caroline of Monaco was presumably licking her wounds Wednesday, having lost the legal suit she filed against German magazine Frau im Spiegel. In 2002, the magazine published a photo of the Princess and her husband on holiday, alongside an article speculating about the health of her ailing father. She promptly sued for breach of privacy.
The court denied the complaint on the basis that the health of the then reigning Prince, was a matter of general public interest.
Yesterday, the Princess’s PR and legal team declined comment after the hearing, thereby allowing the “public interest” defense to hold sway in the ensuing media coverage. Why give in so easily?
The PR Verdict: “C”. for the Monaco team. The team could continue to argue that this issue is still not settled law. All that was needed was a brief statement by Monaco’s representative, acknowledging the importance of public interest while emphasizing the need for stronger privacy safeguards and highlighting the high level of discretion arbitrarily used in deciding what is in the public interest.
On the other hand, speculating about the health of a head of state was always going to raise claims of legitimate public interest. Next time, find a more clearly egregious case of press over-reach, such as rifling through the royal trashcans or phone hacking. This will give the PR boost needed and head-off a defense of public interest.
What verdict would you give the Monaco team?