Prince Harry drop charges against Daily Mail

 January 21, 2024

Prince Harry has withdrawn his libel lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mail tabloid, Associated Newspapers Ltd., as confirmed by his lawyers on Friday.

The decision comes after a judge raised doubts about the viability of his case as it headed to trial.

The decision

The Duke of Sussex's legal team informed the High Court in London of his decision to discontinue the lawsuit. No specific reason was provided for the withdrawal, but it coincided with the day he was scheduled to submit documents in the case.

The move follows a recent ruling where a judge ordered Harry to pay the publisher over 50,000 pounds (more than $60,000) in legal fees after failing to secure victory without going to trial.

While the exact reason for dropping the lawsuit was not disclosed, the decision leaves Prince Harry responsible for covering the publisher's legal fees, reported to be 250,000 pounds ($316,000) by the Daily Mail.

A spokesperson for the duke stated that it was premature to speculate about the costs involved.

The legal dispute

The legal dispute revolved around a Mail on Sunday article alleging that Prince Harry attempted to conceal his efforts to retain publicly funded protection in the U.K. after stepping back from his role as a working member of the royal family.

His lawyers argued that the article attacked his honesty and integrity by claiming court documents contradicted his previous statements about paying for police protection in the U.K., potentially undermining his charity work.

In the face of the legal battle, the publisher contended that the article expressed an honest opinion and did not cause serious harm to Prince Harry's reputation.

Despite Prince Harry seeking summary judgment in March to win the case without a trial, the judge ruled in December that the publisher had a "real prospect" of showing that statements issued on Harry's behalf were misleading, and the article constituted an honest opinion, not libel.

Harry's situation

Prince Harry, 39, has notably distanced himself from the royal family and has chosen legal avenues to address conflicts with the British press.

Apart from this case, he is suing two other tabloid publishers over allegations of using unlawful means to gather information about him.

In addition, Prince Harry has a pending lawsuit challenging the government's decision to provide protection on a case-by-case basis when he visits Britain.

He claims that social media hostility and media harassment threaten his safety and that of his wife, using media intrusion as a key factor in their decision to step back from senior royal duties and relocate to the U.S.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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