Britain’s Prince Harry has settled a label suit against the Associated Newspapers, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over the papers’ articles that claimed that the Duke of Sussex had “snubbed” the Royal Marines following his departure from the United Kingdom.
The prince has now won “substantial damages” from the publisher and has received a formal apology, Reuters reported following a remote hearing at London’s High Court on Monday that detailed the settlement.
‘Baseless’ Claims & Other Lawsuits
The suit relates to The Mail on Sunday article, published on 25 October, which claimed, citing “informed sources”, that the prince “has not been in touch by phone, letter nor email since his last appearance as an honorary Marine” following his departure from the senior royal post in March. It also argued that the royal has ignored a personal letter from ex-head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, on the subject.
Prince Harry, whose military titles have been frozen amid a decision to leave the royal household but still not handed over to anyone else, was outraged by the claims.
His legal team said in court that the papers have “disregarded” the royal’s “reputation in its eagerness to publish a barely researched and one-sided article in pursuit of the imperative to sell newspapers and attract readers to its website”.
Moreover, they said, the allegations “frustrated and saddened” the duke, who is concerned that they will damage his credibility among veterans and serving individuals with mental health issues who the prince is trying to help.
“The claimant reasonably fears that this will, in turn, have devastating effects upon such individuals, including leaving them more susceptible to suicide,” the prince’s lawyers said.
The Mail On Sunday had actually issued a written apology to the duke in December, admitting that the story, rebuked by the prince’s lawyer Jenny Afia as “baseless, false and defamatory” was not entirely true. Prince Harry was actually in touch with his British Navy commando force, the paper said, revealing that they had now made a donation to the foundation that had been organising Invictus Games for injured army personnel which were created by the Duke of Sussex.
This is just one of the defamation lawsuits the Queen’s grandson and his wife have initiated against the British press. The prince is also suing two other major outlets, The Sun and the Daily Mirror, for “illegal interception” of his voicemail messages. His wife meanwhile is to face The Mail on Sunday in court, which she accuses of violating the UK’s law on data protection, misusing personal information and infringing copyrights after the paper published parts of the letter she had written to her estranged father. The trial on the case was supposed to be held in January 2021 but was delayed by nine months at the royal’s request.