LONDON (AP) – Prince Harry’s lawyers asked a judge Friday to rule that a tabloid newspaper with an article about his quest for police protection when he and his family visited the UK Insulted the British royal.
Harry is suing the Mail on Sunday publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd over an article it alleges tried to stifle his separate legal challenge over the British government’s refusal to pay for police protection.
During a hearing at the High Court in London, Harry’s lead lawyer asked Judge Matthew Nickin to either end the publisher’s defense or grant a summary judgement, which would rule in the prince’s favor without a trial.
Lawyer Justin Rushbrook said the facts do not support the publisher’s “basically intended defense” that the article expressed an “honest opinion”.
Harry was not in court for the hearing. The prince, also known as the Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan lost their publicly funded UK police protection when they stepped down as senior working royals and moved to North America in 2020.
Harry’s lawyers have said the prince is reluctant to bring the couple’s children – Prince Archie, who is almost 4, and Princess Lilibet, almost 2 – to his homeland because it is not safe.
The 38-year-old prince wants to personally pay for police protection when he arrives in the UK, but the government has said this is not possible. Last year a judge gave Harry permission to sue the government. That matter is yet to be heard.
Harry sues Associated Newspapers over February 2022 Mail on Sunday article “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep secret his legal battle with government over police bodyguards… then – just minutes after story breaks Minutes later – their PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the controversy.
Harry claims he was outraged when the newspaper suggested the prince lied in his initial public statements about the trial against the government.
In July, Nicklin ruled that the article was defamatory, allowing the case to proceed. The judge has yet to consider issues such as whether the story was accurate or in the public interest.
Harry, the younger son of King Charles III, and former actress Meghan Markle married at Windsor Castle in 2018, but stepped down as working royals in 2020, citing intolerable intrusion and racist attitudes of the British media.
Harry’s fury at the UK press follows on from his memoir “Spare”, published in January. He blames an overly aggressive press for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, and accuses the media of similarly victimizing Meghan.
The couple have not hesitated to use the British courts to hit back at what they see as media abuse. In December 2021, Meghan won an invasion-of-privacy case against Associated Newspapers over the publication of a letter she wrote to her father on the Mail on Sunday.
Harry is among the celebrities to sue Associated Newspapers over alleged phone hacking, and has launched a separate hacking lawsuit against the publisher of another tabloid, Mirror. ,
Follow the AP’s coverage of Prince Harry
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