Harry ordered to pay Daily Mail publisher’s legal fees

Harry cops a legal bill, while Kate and kids get out and about for charity

A judge has ordered Prince Harry to pay the legal fees of the publisher of Britain’s Mail on Sunday tabloid for his failed court challenge in a libel lawsuit.

The Duke of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers over an article that said he tried to hide his efforts to retain publicly funded protection in Britain after he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down as working members of the royal family.

Justice Matthew Nicklin ruled on Friday in the High Court in London that the publisher has a “real prospect” of showing that statements issued on Harry’s behalf were misleading and that the February 2022 article reflected an “honest opinion” and was not libellous.

“The defendant may well submit that this was a masterclass in the art of ‘spinning’,” Nicklin wrote, in refusing to strike the honest opinion defence.

Harry has claimed the article was “fundamentally inaccurate” and the newspaper defamed him when it suggested he lied in his initial public statements over efforts to challenge the government’s decision to strip him of his security detail after he and his family moved to the US in 2020.

Harry, 39, the younger son of the King, also has a lawsuit pending against the government’s decision to protect him on a case-by-case basis when he visits Britain.

He claims that hostility toward him and the Duchess of Sussex on social media and relentless hounding by the news media threaten their safety.

Nicklin said a three or four-day libel trial would be scheduled for between May 17 and July 31.

The nearly £50,000 ($95,700) in legal fees Harry was ordered to pay by December 29 is likely to be dwarfed by the amount paid to lawyers in another lawsuit the duke has brought against the publisher.

Associated Newspapers is one of three British tabloid publishers he is suing over claims they used unlawful means – such as deception, phone hacking or hiring private investigators –— to try to dig up dirt on him.

The Mail publisher failed last month to get the suit thrown out, although it prevailed in getting some evidence barred from trial.

Nicklin – who is also hearing that case – is considering what to award in lawyer’s costs for each party’s respective wins.

Harry and co-claimants, who include Sir Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley, said they spent £1.7 million to prepare for and argue their case at a hearing over several days in March.

The publisher, meanwhile, is seeking up to £755,000.

Topics: Prince Harry
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