Paris Match magazine was justified in revealing the existence of Prince Albert II of Monaco’s love child with a flight attendant because the story was in the public interest, the European court of human rights ruled on November 10.
The publication’s story about the boy born to the French-Togolese flight attendant in 2003 had public interest because of the principality’s rules of succession, European judges decided.
The judges said a French court was wrong to convict the magazine for publishing a 10-page spread on the issue in 2005, because the story had an importance that “went beyond the scope of [the prince’s] private life”.
The court first made the ruling in June 2014, but the French government appealed against the decision.
Prince Albert of Monaco admitted shortly after the story was published that he was the father of a baby boy born out of wedlock to Nicole Coste in 2003.
In the Paris Match interview, Nicole Coste, then 33, described her affair of several years with Prince Albert, whom she said she met on a flight from Paris to Nice in July 1997. The article was illustrated with several pictures of Prince Albert holding a child in his arms.
In France, Paris Match was ordered to pay €50,000 to Prince Albert, who took over the throne in Monaco in April 2005.
In November 10 ruling, the judges said the boy’s existence “could have public interest because of the rules of succession in the principality” which exclude children born outside marriage.
Prince Albert, 56, married former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2011 and the couple had twins in December 2014. Their son, Jacques, is now next in line to head the 700-year-old House of Grimaldi.
However, Prince Albert appears to have mended ties with Paris Match, posing with Princess Charlene and their babies shortly after their birth.