Prince Harry drops libel case against Daily Mail after damaging pretrial ruling
LONDON — On Friday, Prince Harry dropped his libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail tabloid following a ruling in which a judge suggested he might lose at trial.
In a news report from The Associated Press, lawyers representing the Duke of Sussex notified the High Court in London that he would not continue the suit against Associated Newspapers Ltd, one of several cases he had pending in his high-profile battle with the British press.
No reason was given, but it came on the day he was due to hand over documents in the case and after a ruling last month in which a judge ordered Harry to pay the publisher nearly £50,000 (more than $60,000) in legal fees after he failed to achieve victory without going to trial.
AP News says this decision has left the Royal with responsibility for the publisher’s legal fees, reported by the Daily Mail to be £250,000 (US$316,000). A spokesperson for the Duke said it was premature to speculate about costs.
Harry, 39, has broken ranks with the royal family in his willingness to go to court in his efforts to hold the news media accountable for “hounding” him throughout his life.
Associated Newspapers is one of three tabloid publishers he has sued over claims they used unlawful means, such as deception, phone hacking, or hiring private investigators, to release damaging information about him.
That case against Associated and another against the publisher of The Sun are headed for trial.
Last month, Harry won the sole case that has gone to trial. He was awarded £140,000 (US$177,000).
The libel case involved a Mail on Sunday article that said Harry tried to hide his efforts to retain publicly funded protection in the United Kingdom after walking away from his role as a working member of the royal family.
According to AP News, Harry’s lawyers claimed the article attacked his honesty and integrity by purporting to reveal that court documents ‘contradicted public statements he had previously made about his willingness to pay for police protection for himself and his family’ while in the UK. He said the article would undermine his charity work.