European court rules on Monaco prince's son

PARIS (AP) — The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday in favor of Paris Match magazine in a case involving Prince Albert of Monaco's secret son.

The prince tried unsuccessfully to block publication of a 2005 article in which a woman said that Albert fathered her son. Albert then sued the French magazine's publisher for invasion of privacy, and French courts ruled in his favor and ordered the payment of compensation.

The European court, based in Strasbourg, France, said those rulings violated freedom of expression. It ruled Thursday that the case was about the public interest and the interests of the woman and the child — not just the monarch's privacy.

The Monaco palace declined comment on the verdict. After the 2005 publication, Albert acknowledged that the boy was his, and later acknowledged fathering a daughter with another woman. According to Monaco's constitution, those children cannot take the throne because they were born out of wedlock.

Albert, Monaco's 56-year-old ruling monarch, currently has no heir — but his wife, Princess Charlene, is pregnant. The two married in 2011 after years of speculation as to whether the longtime bachelor prince, the son of American actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, would ever settle down. Monaco changed its constitution in 2002 to allow Albert to pass his powers to his sisters or their children if he died without a legitimate heir.

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