Prince Harry has been accused of “disregarding” a court record as he filed a defamation lawsuit against a British tabloid in a fiery response from the newspaper’s lawyers. news week can reveal.
The Duke of Sussex is suing The Post on Sunday for defamation over an article which suggested he had publicly misrepresented the basis of a separate lawsuit he had launched against the British government.
The newspaper has now accused Harry of ignoring media lawsuit filing guidelines, calling his lawyers’ portrayal of the events a “travesty”.
news week has reached out to representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and The Post on Sunday for comment.
Beyond the immediate problems, the High Court case in London highlights Harry’s strategy for dealing with an often hostile British press.
Harry’s defamation lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday
The tabloid – which lost a lawsuit filed by Meghan Markle over publishing a letter she sent her father – ran an article headlined: “DISCOVERED: How Harry tried to keep his bodyguard lawsuit secret…then minutes after MoS died.” published the story, his public relations machinery tried to put a positive spin on the argument.”
The dispute relates to Harry’s judicial review of a Home Office decision to lift his police protection and a statement by the Prince’s legal team in January 2022 to British taxpayers.”
That MoS accused Harry of giving the impression that the lawsuit filed against the government was aimed at enabling him to pay a police team, although Home Office lawyers had suggested they were not made an offer in the early stages of the dispute.
The article read: “The revelations [in a Home Office filing] are a damning refutation of Harry’s initial public statement that he was always willing to foot the bill.”
The newspaper published their story online on February 19, and Harry filed his lawsuit four days later. His lawyers later filed documents in which he indicated he had made an offer to the royal family during a meeting at Sandringham in January 2020.
Harry’s defamation lawsuit says the newspaper’s lawyers were “baseless” and “offensive” in an email accusing him of waging an “ongoing self-proclaimed battle with anyone in the media who dares a little less.” to publish anything flattering about him”.
Court records viewed by news week show how quickly attempts to resolve the dispute crumbled in the hours after publication and how communications between the two sides remain hostile.
Harry’s lawyers said the newspaper’s response to his complaint “was and
continues to be despicable” after sending an email at 11:29am on Feb. 20 asking for the online version of the article to be removed.
At 2:04 p.m. that day, the newspaper responded with what the Duke’s lawyers called “a low-key response,” but as of February 23 it had made no further communication.
At 4:01 p.m. that day, four days after the story was published online, Harry’s attorneys filed their lawsuit and emailed a claim form to the newspaper.
Harry’s team say the MoS then sent a “sulky email” at 6:07pm saying the king was “chilled”.[ing] further discussion” and release of the lawsuit for “media administration purposes”.
The Mail on Sunday revisits Prince Harry
However, the MoS now says the report is “a farce of what happened,” and a court transcript that settles media claims gave them 14 days to respond.
A court record seen by news weekto read: “Despite his position and access to expert legal advice [Prince Harry] disregarded protocol.”
“On Wednesday, February 23, 2022,” it said, “[Prince Harry] Proceedings served without notice and made public before the defendant had a reasonable time to comment. This was a clear violation of the letter and spirit of protocol.”
The filing added: “[Prince Harry] was not entitled to a full response within three business days of publication and its decision to issue a claim form without further notice was manifestly unreasonable.”
Regarding Harry’s reference to an “ill-tempered” email, the newspaper’s lawyers wrote: “The email and letter referenced were a reasonable attempt at engagement [Prince Harry] to conduct correspondence in accordance with pre-action protocol and bring the serious complaint to his attention [MoS] had about his behavior prior to the action. These complaints have never been adequately addressed.”
The newspaper also doubled down on its report that statements by Harry’s legal representative were misleading, leading to a series of articles suggesting his judicial review involved an offer to pay for his own Metropolitan Police unit.
The statement from Harry’s legal representative read: “The Duke first offered to personally pay for British police protection for himself and his family at Sandringham in January 2020. This offer was declined.”
That MoS The court filing read: “No government official or representative attended the meeting. No official attendee was present in the capacity of a RAVEC representative [the Home Office’s Royal and VIP Executive Committee, which made the policing decision].
“The Claimant was not aware at that time that any official of the Royal Household was a member of RAVEC, nor could he believe that he was addressing them in that capacity (if he was present).
“The written agreement that followed the Sandringham meeting makes no reference to, or contains any mention of, the family offer [Prince Harry’s] Willingness to pay or contribute.”
The civil action in the High Court continues.