Queen settles legal battle with 'Mirror' over footman - but editor wants thanks

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The Independent Online

The Queen has settled her legal battle with the Daily Mirror over revelations about life inside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Lawyers for the Queen said a claim for damages against the Mirror had been dropped in return for the newspaper handing over all unpublished documents obtained by Ryan Parry, the journalist who was employed as a Palace footman.

The Mirror also agreed to pay £25,000 towards the Queen's legal costs and to undertake not to republish photographs, which first appeared on 19 November, of the rooms of the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Piers Morgan, the editor of the Mirror, said he was "delighted" the Queen had decided to drop the legal action and suggested that the Royal Family owed Mr Parry a vote of thanks for uncovering lapses in their security. "If we had not carried out this investigation then the many flaws in the security system surrounding the royals would not have been exposed," he added.

In its extensive coverage of the story last week, the Mirror published photographs of the Royal Family's living quarters, including the Queen's breakfast table. It also published details of the Queen's television viewing habits.

The Queen won a temporary injunction against the Mirror on Thursday after her lawyers had argued that Mr Parry, who was employed as a footman for two months, had breached the terms of his employment contract by revealing confidential information.

Jonathan Sumption QC, for the Queen, told Mr Justice Lightman in the High Court yesterday that articles published in the Mirror focused on demonstrating that the vetting processes for those who worked at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle were insufficient. It was accepted that there was a public interest in disclosing such matters to the proper authorities and the Security Commission had asked to review the vetting procedures.

But he added: "The proper authorities do not include the Daily Mirror, and a large proportion of what Mr Parry wrote had nothing to do with lapses of security."