UK’s Prince Harry to seek Mail on Sunday libel win without trial
17 March, 2023, 2:02 pm
LONDON (Reuters) – Prince Harry will on Friday seek to win his libel claim against publisher Associated Newspapers without the case going to trial, his lawyer said, as the British royal steps up his legal battles against the tabloid press.
Harry, King Charles’ younger son, sued Associated Newspapers last year over an article in its Mail on Sunday newspaper that alleged he tried to keep secret details of his separate legal fight with Britain’s government over his security arrangements.
London’s High Court ruled in July that the Mail report was defamatory, paving the way for Harry to take the case forward against one of Britain’s biggest media publishers.
The article said Harry, 38, had tried to keep secret details of his legal fight to reinstate his police protection – which was withdrawn after he stepped back from royal duties in 2020 – and that his aides had then tried to put a positive spin on it.
His lawyers confirmed to Reuters that they would ask the judge Matthew Nicklin at a hearing on Friday to give a summary judgment – a ruling in his favour without the need for a trial.
Two years ago, Harry’s American wife Meghan, 41, likewise won a summary judgment in her privacy case against the Mail on Sunday for printing parts of a handwritten letter she had sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
The couple have become embroiled in numerous court cases against tabloid papers since the time of their 2018 marriage, accusing them of racism, hounding them, and spreading lies.
Media intrusion was part of the reason they cited for stepping back from royal duties and moving to California to forge new lives and careers.
In his memoir “Spare” and in the couple’s six-part Netflix documentary series, Harry focused heavily on the press, with accusations that other royals had been complicit in newspaper stories.
There has been no response from Buckingham Palace or other royals to those remarks.
Harry, officially known as the Duke of Sussex, also told one TV interview in January that he hoped his legal action would help reform the media, adding that his father had described that as “probably a suicide mission”.
Later this month, there is due to be a hearing in another case he has brought with singer Elton John and others against Associated Newspapers over allegations of phone-tapping and other privacy breaches.
In May, a lawsuit against the Daily Mirror newspaper over accusations of phone-hacking will go to a trial, and he is also suing News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun, also for alleged phone-hacking.