Prince preparing fight over tell-all book
15 June 2006 Daily Mail, by Rebecca English.
Prince Charles faces a new legal battle to stop a former secretary publishing a 'titillating' account of palace life. Sarah Goodall promises to lift the lid on Charles's private office with a first-hand account of the break-up of his marriage to the late Princess of Wales and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
But even if the Prince was to successfully block the book in the UK courts, the company is thought to be making plans to publish abroad.
Miss Goodall claims that it was Camilla - now the Duchess of Cornwall - who eventually secured her dismissal after 12 years service after becoming jealous of the close relationship she had with the Prince. According to the former public schoolgirl, the royal mistress identified her as a threat who "had to go".
She is also planning to talk in depth about the "Rasputin-like" hold that Charles's former valet, Michael Fawcett, still has on him and highlights the 'frigid' relationship that he has with his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Her 320-page book, entitled The Palace Diaries: The True Story of Life Behind the Palace Gates, is to be published in September priced £12.99 and is already being heavily promoted with booksellers and on internet sites such as Amazon. But according to Clarence House sources, Miss Goodall may yet have a fight on her hands with lawyers for the Prince preparing to injunct its publication. Indeed, the Mail can reveal royal solicitors Harbottle and Lewis have demanded Edinburgh-based publishers Mainstream hand over a copy of the book before it hits the streets.
"The Prince's lawyers are looking into the possibility of legal action at the moment and have asked to see a copy of the book to see how damaging it is before they consider sending the big guns in," the source said. "Sarah signed several confidentiality agreements during her employment so they are very keen to see what she has written. An injunction is not out of the question."
Mainstream refused to comment yesterday but sources indicated that the company is already making plans to publish abroad if they are injuncted in the UK. "We aren't going to go quietly," the source said. "We will still intend to have a number of overseas editions of the book printed. It will be just like Spycatcher."
Miss Goodall, 41, joined the Prince's staff in 1988 and quickly rose to become one of his Lady Clerks, traveling the world on his private plane while dealing with his personal correspondence. She was even awarded an MVO (Member of the Victorian Order) for her loyalty and discretion.
Uncomfortable reading for Prince Charles
While never quite crossing the line into friendship, the relationship between Miss Goodall and her boss was warm - sometime 'flirtatious', she says - and she was frequently invited to dine with him and watch films in his private cinema. But, she claims, the relationship irrevocably changed when Camilla came on the scene in a permanent way and accused her of being "over familiar". In 2000, she was finally sacked.
Sources close to the book insist that it is not a hatchet job but a "hilarious, light-hearted Bridget Jones-style" account of Miss Goodall's life at the palace that is unlikely to cause offence. But a synopsis of the book suggests that some reading may prove uncomfortable for the prince.
"The Palace Diaries is a hilarious account of a young woman's life spent in the Royal Household of the Prince of Wales. It will titillate and delight in equal measure," it reads."Sarah witnessed the personal strain suffered by the Prince when he was pilloried by the press for his long-running affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. She witnessed the collapse of Charles's marriage to Diana, helped with the funeral arrangements of the Princess's tragic death, and regularly dined with the Prince and Camilla. The fairytale comes crashing to an end, however, when she gets on the wrong side of Camilla Parker-Bowles and not even a final dramatic encounter with Prince Charles can save her from the axe."
Charles is said to be deeply upset by Miss Goodall's decision to write a book about her life at the palace. "Betrayed is how he feels," one well-placed source said.
He feels particularly bruised after his decision earlier this year to sue the Mail on Sunday newspaper over the publication of extracts from a travel journal he wrote during an official visit to witness the handover of Hong Kong. During the High Court hearing Charles argued that he was a private individual with a right to jot down his thoughts and pass them among friends but was hugely embarrassed by the testimonies of senior former staff who claimed he viewed himself as a "political dissident".
Although a judge ruled that the journal - in which senior Chinese figures were labeled "appalling old waxworks" - should not have been published, the newspaper has now been given permission to appeal against the decision because of the level of 'public interest' in the case.
Dynasty Press, 36 Ravensdon Street, London SE11 4AR. Distributors: UK. Orca Book Services Ltd; US. Pathways; Designer: Two Associates;
Typesetters: Strange Attractor; Printers: Cromwell UK, Finland; Promoters: Colbert & Macalister, London.