Prince Harry wins defamation case against British tabloid

Brenda Watkins
February 2, 2021

Harry settled a legal dispute with Associated Newspapers, publisher of The Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline, accepting damages and an apology after the publication of a Mail on Sunday story titled "Top General accuses Harry of Turning his Back on the Marines", CNN and The Associated Press report.

The Duke's honorary military titles were put on hold, including his position as Captain-General of the Royal Marines, after he and wife Meghan stepped back as senior royals in March 2020.

In documents filed with the High Court just before Christmas, the duke's lawyers said Harry had been "personally affronted" by the articles which had "caused huge damage to his reputation".

It was not confirmed how much he was awarded in damages, however, Harry is donating the money to the Invictus Games Foundation, which runs the competition he set up in 2014 for wounded, injured, or sick servicemen and women.

In the end, however, The Mail on Sunday's publisher did not make that donation directly and instead sent the funds to the duke himself.

Speaking on Amazon Prime documentary Harry & Meghan: The Next Step, Smith said: "If they want to live privately, then they have to renounce their titles, abandon all claims to public funding and go and do their own thing".

Judge Matthew Nicklin heard details of the settlement at a remote hearing on Monday.

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Harry entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2005 and spent the next 10 years in the British armed forces in active service.

"All these allegations are false as the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline have now accepted, albeit after considerable damage was already done", Afia said on Monday.

Afia said the apology "used wording which significantly underplayed the seriousness of the accusations made against him" and "did not expressly acknowledge that the allegations were false".

Last year, Harry sued Associated Newspapers Ltd. for libel over two "almost identical" pieces published in October.

In spring 2020, Meghan and Harry's departure as working members of the royal family took effect.

"And they've apologized for questioning The Duke of Sussex's commitment to the Royal Marines and British Armed Forces", a spokesperson for The Duke of Sussex said.

We now understand that Harry has been in contact in a private capacity with individuals in the military including in the Royal Marines to offer informal support since March and that whilst he did not initially receive the letter from Lord Dannatt referred to in the article due to administrative issues he has since replied on becoming aware of it.

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