Prince Harry has been accused of “flouting” a court protocol in the way he filed a libel lawsuit against a U.K. tabloid in a fiery response from the newspaper’s lawyers, Newsweek can reveal.
The Duke of Sussex is suing The Mail on Sunday for defamation over an article that suggested he publicly misrepresented the basis of a separate lawsuit he has launched against the U.K. government.
The newspaper has now accused Harry of ignoring guidelines for filing media lawsuits and described his lawyers’ account of events as a “travesty.”
Newsweek has approached representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and The Mail on Sunday for comment.
Beyond the immediate issues, the case at the High Court in London shines a spotlight on Harry’s strategy for dealing with an often hostile U.K. press.
Harry’s Libel Lawsuit against ‘The Mail on Sunday’
The tabloid—which lost a lawsuit brought by Meghan Markle over its publication of a letter she had sent her father— ran an article with the headline: “REVEALED: How Harry tried to keep his legal fight over bodyguards secret….then minutes after MoS broke story his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.”
The dispute relates to Harry’s judicial review of a Home Office decision to remove his police protection and a statement issued by the prince’s legal team in January 2022. The statement said he “remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer.”
The most accused Harry of creating the impression that the lawsuit filed against the government was aimed at enabling him to pay for a police team when Home Office lawyers had suggested that an offer was not made to them in the initial stages of the dispute.
The article read: “The revelations [in a Home Office filing] are a crushing rebuttal to Harry’s initial public statement that implied he had always been willing to foot the bill.”
The newspaper published its story online on February 19 and Harry filed his lawsuit four days later. His lawyers later submitted paperwork pointing out that he had made an offer to the royal family during a meeting at Sandringham in January 2020.