Prince Harry Drops Libel Lawsuit Against Daily Mail Publisher, Faces Hefty Legal Fees

LONDON – Prince Harry has decided to drop his libel lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers Limited, over an article that was published nearly two years ago. The decision came after a pretrial ruling hinted that he might not succeed in the case. As a result, Prince Harry will now have to pay the publisher’s substantial legal fees, amounting to around 250,000 pounds ($316,000). The Duke of Sussex’s attorneys informed London’s High Court of his decision on Friday.

Although the reason for Prince Harry’s withdrawal from the lawsuit has not been officially disclosed, it coincided with the day he was scheduled to submit documents for the case, which was initially set for a three-day trial starting this May. The contentious article, published by the Mail on Sunday in February 2022, accused Prince Harry of seeking publicly funded protection despite stepping back from his senior royal duties and relocating to the United States with his wife Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry had claimed that the article subjected him to suspicion and paranoia, leading him to sever ties with those close to him whom he believed were leaking information to the publisher. He asserted that his charity work and integrity had been called into question due to the “unlawful articles” and accused both the Daily Mail’s publisher and The Sun of employing illegal methods, including phone-hacking and the hiring of private investigators, to expose him.

The decision to drop the lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited follows a recent ruling by Justice Matthew Nicklin, who deemed the article non-libelous as it merely expressed an “honest opinion.” Harry was also ordered to pay nearly 50,000 pounds ($60,000) in legal fees to the publisher. This ruling contrasted with Nicklin’s previous judgment, in which he allowed the case to proceed and acknowledged the plaintiffs, including Prince Harry, Sir Elton John, David Furnish, and Elizabeth Hurley, as having a real chance of success.

It is worth noting that Prince Harry recently won a lawsuit against the publishers of the Daily Mirror, who were found guilty of widespread and habitual phone-hacking. He was awarded 140,000 pounds ($177,000) in damages as a result of this ruling.

In conclusion, Prince Harry’s decision to drop his libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail’s publisher marks a significant development in his ongoing legal battles against tabloid newspapers. Despite the setback, he continues to fight for accountability and privacy in the media industry.