Prince Harry sues tabloid for defamation over security history
LONDON (AP) – Lawyers Prince Harry On Friday, he asked a judge to rule that a tabloid newspaper had slandered the British royal family with an article about his seeking police protection when he and his family visit the UK.
Harry sued the publisher of the Mail on Sunday Associated Newspapers Ltd. over an article alleging that he was trying to cover up his own separate lawsuit over the British government’s refusal to allow him to pay for police protection.
During a High Court hearing in London, Chief Attorney Harry asked Judge Matthew Nykin to either strike out the publisher’s defense or issue a summary judgment that would have been in favor of the prince without going to court.
Lawyer Justin Rushbrook said the facts did not support the publisher’s “substantial defense” that the article expressed “an honest opinion”.
Harry did not attend the court hearing. The Prince, also known as the Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan lost the UK’s publicly funded police protection when they stepped down as senior members of the royal family and moved to North America in 2020.
Harry’s lawyers said the prince does not want to bring the couple’s children – Prince Archie, who is almost 4, and Princess Lilibet, who is almost 2 – to his homeland because it is not safe.
The 38-year-old prince wants to personally pay for police protection when he arrives in the UK, but the government has said that is not possible. Last year, the judge allowed Harry sue the government. This case has not yet gone to trial.
Harry is suing Associated Newspapers over a February 2022 Mail on Sunday article titled “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal battle with the government over the police bodyguards secret…then – just minutes after the story broke – his PR machine tried to give the dispute a positive spin.”
Harry claims he was slandered by the newspaper when they suggested that the prince lied in his initial public statements about the lawsuit against the government.
In July, Nicklin ruled that the article was libelous, allowing the case to continue. The judge has yet to address issues such as whether the story was accurate and in the public interest.
Harry, youngest son of King Charles III and former actress Meghan Markle married at Windsor Castle in 2018 but resigned as working royal in 2020, citing what they called intolerable intrusion and racist treatment from the British media.
Harry’s anger at the British press overflows his memoirs Spare, published in January. He blames an overly aggressive press for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, and blames the media for a similar persecution of Meghan.
The couple did not hesitate to use the British courts to fight back against what they see as media mistreatment. In December 2021, Megan won invasion of privacy case v. Associated Newspapers by mail over Sunday’s publication of a letter she wrote to her estranged father.
Harry is also among the celebrities suing Associated Newspapers over an alleged phone hack, and he filed a separate hacking lawsuit against the publisher of another tabloid, The Mirror.