The Duke is suing The Mail on Sunday over what he considers a defamatory exclusive, which described how “Harry tried to keep his legal battle over bodyguards secret” and then claimed minutes after The Mail on Sunday broke the story that his “PR machine tried to put positive” spin on the controversy “.
The royal’s lawyers said the story and “unfavorable and hostile” comments from readers were “obviously unusually serious and harmful” and constitute an “attack on his honesty and integrity” which “undermines his suitability to be involved in both charitable and philanthropic occupation “.
He is demanding damages, an injunction preventing the newspaper from republishing defamatory statements, and publication of the High Court’s verdict.
The duke has reportedly “suffered serious damage to his reputation and significant damage, embarrassment and distress that continues”, they say in a High Court case seeking “more severe compensation” for the duke.
The Mail of Sunday article is said to have inspired a “feeding frenzy of hostile comments” directed at the Duke, his lawyers claim.
The newspaper first revealed that Harry was seeking judicial review by the Home Office after the decision was made not to provide police protection to him and his family when he visited the UK.
Shortly after the article was published on January 16, the Duke’s team issued a statement confirming that the Duke was seeking judicial review.
The statement noted: “The Duke first offered to personally pay for British police protection for himself and his family in January 2020 in Sandringham.”
However, during the first hearing of the case, lawyers for the government allegedly said that the offer of payment “in particular was not forwarded to Ravec [the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures]”When the Duke visited the UK in June 2021 or in one of the immediate correspondences that followed.
The following week, The Mail on Sunday published another article stating that “the revelations are a devastating refutation of Harry’s first public statement, suggesting that he had always been willing to pay the bill.
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But Harry’s lawyers claim that the comments of the government’s lawyers “were not at all a refutation of the plaintiff’s public statement, let alone a” crushing “one”.
They say it only refers to his relationship with Ravec, but not the offer of payment for protection to other external parties.
The Duke’s lawyers said he “has been outraged (but unfortunately not surprised) at the defendant’s distortion and misrepresentation of facts in breach of the most basic journalistic standards and ethics”.
His lawyers particularly protest against the allegation that he tried to keep the case secret, and the notion that he “incorrectly and cynically tried to manipulate and confuse public opinion by giving his ‘spin doctors’ permission to issue false and misleading statements about his willingness to pay. for police protection ”.
They also protest that “the numerous free photographs of the plaintiff and his wife and family” as well as the word exclusive are being used to promote the story.
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Readers were given the opportunity to “share what you think”, as they say received over 6,460 comments, the majority of which were “negative and hostile”.
In addition to causing the Duke stress and emotional turmoil, his lawyers claim it also undermines charitable and philanthropic work, particularly his efforts to tackle online misinformation.
The legal documents allegedly say: “It must have been clear to [Mail on Sunday] that by giving these serious allegations so much publicity on the terms and in the manner in which it did, which led to inevitable repetitions and the nourishing madness of hostile comments, it could not but cause [Prince Harry’s] reputation significant harm and cause significant distress and harm [Duke’s] emotions, as has been the case. “
The Mail on Sunday reportedly accused Prince Harry of “chill” in response[ing] further discussion “and broadcast cases for his own” media management purposes “,” as part of his continued self-proclaimed struggle with anyone in the media who dares to publish anything about him that is less than flattering “.
Associated Newspapers Limited – the company that publishes The Mail on Sunday – defends the claim.