Charles Faces New Court Trial to Win Back His Journals; JUDGE REJECTS DEMAND FOR RETURN OF MANUSCRIPTS THAT REVEAL HIS VIEWS

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Byline: REBECCA ENGLISH

PRINCE Charles could have to give evidence in court after being told he must fight on to get back his 'explosive' travel journals.

A judge yesterday rejected his demands for the immediate return of the seven controversial manuscripts and said the case would have to go to trial.

This means the prince could become the most senior royal in modern times to appear as a witness.

It is the latest stumbling block in a legal battle that has already led to a number of revelations about the prince's views.

The most damaging were made by his former aide Mark Bolland, who accused the heir to the throne of likening himself to a 'political dissident' whose job it was to oppose government policy.

He also revealed that the prince 'bombarded' ministers with letters and secretly briefed the media on delicate matters of diplomacy when it suited his personal agenda.

In a momentous High Court hearing yesterday, Mr Justice Blackburne ruled that the Mail on Sunday had been wrong to publish extracts from a 3,000-word manuscript regarding the 1997 handover of Hong Kong in which the prince likened Chinese dignitaries to 'appalling old waxworks' and claimed Tony Blair relied too heavily on focus groups.

He said the newspaper had breached Charles's 'confidence and copyright' and gave him permission to sue for damages - even though the prince's lawyers agreed that the document in question could be published by newspapers during last month's hearing.

But the judge qualified this by saying that the Mail on Sunday had an 'eminently arguable' case that other journals in their possession were different and it would be wrong to block their publication without a full hearing.

'The application succeeds in respect of the claims in confidence and copyright concerning the Hong Kong journal.

The claims in respect of the other journals must go forward to trial,' he said, The prince's legal team had argued that the journals - which, it is believed, were handed to the newspaper by an ex-employee - were private and intended only for the ' amusement' of close family and friends.

His lawyers claimed that he was entitled to keep his musings private 'like any other citizen' and asked the judge to rule in their favour without going to a full trial as the newspaper had no legitimate defence. …