Prince Harry settles libel claim with UK tabloid

  • 11 months   ago
Prince Harry
Prince Harry has formally settled a libel claim against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline website over reports that he snubbed soldiers after stepping down as a senior royal.
Harry sued Associated Newspapers over reports published in October that he had “not been in touch” with soldiers since his last appearance as an honorary Marine in March.
But the Mail on Sunday printed an apology in December.
Harry had been “personally affronted” by the articles, said papers he filed to the High Court in London.
The prince “made repeated and concerted efforts to support the Royal Marines and other members of the armed forces and their families in the past year, even though he was required to step back from formal military roles”, said his lawyer Jenny Afia.
“All of these allegations are false as the Mail on Sunday and the Mail Online have accepted, albeit after considerable damage was already done,” she added.
Judge Matthew Nicklin heard details of the settlement at a remote hearing yesterday.
Harry’s wife Meghan is locked in a legal battle with the same publisher for printing a private letter to her estranged father.
The prince, who served in the armed forces for a decade and saw active service twice in Afghanistan before taking on the role of a full-time senior royal, had been appointed as Captain General Royal Marines by his grandmother in 2017.
But, as part of an arrangement negotiated with the queen and other senior royals, he had to give up the title when he quit official duties and moved to the United States with his wife Meghan and their son Archie.
British media reported at the time he was upset at having to relinquish his military connections, which he highly valued.
“The baseless, false and defamatory stories ... constituted not only a personal attack on the duke’s character but also wrongly brought into question his service to this country,” Afia said.
In the brief remote High Court hearing yesterday setting out details of the settlement of the claim, Afia said that the apology – published before the final conclusion of the settlement – “used wording which significantly underplayed the seriousness of the accusations made against” Harry and “did not expressly acknowledge that the allegations were false”.
In a pre-prepared statement, she also said the apology “incorrectly stated that the defendant had made a donation to the Invictus Games Foundation”.
Afia said that while Associated Newspapers had offered to make a donation directly, Harry had decided to make a donation of the amount received in damages directly to the Invictus Games Foundation himself “so he could feel something good had come out of the situation”.
While she acknowledged the wording of the apology was agreed between the two parties, she said it “did not, therefore, accurately represent what happened in that respect”.
Since quitting frontline royal duties early last year, the couple – who retain their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – have waged an increasingly bitter war with the media, particularly the tabloid press.
Harry has brought separate claims against two tabloids related to alleged phone-hacking.
In December, Meghan settled a privacy claim against an insolvent British paparazzi agency that took pictures of her and the couple’s young son Archie when out for a walk near their home.

Source: Gulf Times