Prince Harry drops defamation case against British newspaper

Henry

Prince Harry has his defamation case against the British newspaper Mail on Sunday abandoned, the publication announced on Friday. However, the estranged royal is still fighting a legal battle against several other media groups.

Harry made the claim after an article about his other legal battle with the British government over security arrangements for him and his family while they are in England.

The prince, who now lives in the US with his wife, Meghan, dropped that case because he would have to submit several documents that would come to light in the trial, the MailOnline reported.

“Today (Friday) was the deadline for both sides to present a list of all relevant documents,” says the report.

“Instead, at 10:06 (12:06 SA time), Harry’s legal representatives informed the newspaper that they had filed a notice with the court stating that the ‘Duke of Sussex is suspending the entire claim’.”

The newspaper reported that 39-year-old Harry would have to pay the publication £250,000 (about R6 million), along with his own legal costs. It was estimated that it would have amounted to more than £750 000 (about R18 million).

Harry sued the paper over an article that his image-polishing team tried to spin to make it look like he had offered to pay personally for police protection, a claim disputed by the UK Home Office. The department maintains that it did not receive such an offer from Harry at that stage.

Harry’s legal team asked Judge Matthew Nicklin to rule in his favor without a trial, but the application was rejected.

The prince has a stormy relationship with the media and holds them responsible for the death of his mother, the late Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in Paris in 1997 while trying to evade the paparazzi.

Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties in 2020 and moved to California in the US, blaming the move in part on the media.

The prince has pledged to make it his life’s work to reform the British media and is embroiled in several disputes with British tabloids.

The High Court in London ruled in December that Harry was the victim of journalists working for the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) who hacked his phone and was awarded £140,600 (about R3.3 million) in damages.