Prince Harry ordered to pay Mail on Sunday more than £48,000 after unsuccessful bid to strike out libel case
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Prince Harry has been ordered to pay the Mail on Sunday a sum exceeding £48,000 after his bid to dismiss a portion of the paper's defence in a libel case was unsuccessful, Sky News has reported. The Duke of Sussex is pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, over an article detailing his conflict with the Home Office regarding security arrangements.
Associated Newspapers asserts that the article conveyed an "honest opinion" and did not inflict "serious harm" upon Harry's reputation. The Duke sought to eliminate the "honest opinion" defence, but a High Court judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, ruled on Friday that it could stand, and the case should proceed to trial.
Judge Nicklin determined that the publisher had a "real prospect" of presenting its case, resulting in Prince Harry being directed to cover the newspaper's costs amounting to £48,447 by December 29.
The contested article, published in 2022, addressed Harry's disagreement with the Home Office's decision to withdraw his automatic police protection following his departure from the working Royal Family.
The newspaper's headline read, "How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over bodyguards a secret … then - just minutes after the story broke - his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute."
In response, the Duke of Sussex contends that the article is libelous, as it impugned "his honesty and integrity." His legal team argues that it is inaccurate and insinuates that he "lied" and "cynically" attempted to manipulate public opinion. If both parties fail to reach a settlement, the libel trial is scheduled to take place between May and July next year.