Prince Harry accepts 'substantial damages' from Mail on Sunday publisher

1 February 2021, 10:46 | Updated: 1 February 2021, 11:23

Prince Harry has accepted "substantial damages" from the Mail on Sunday
Prince Harry has accepted "substantial damages" from the Mail on Sunday. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Duke of Sussex has accepted an apology and "substantial damages" from the Mail On Sunday publisher over allegations he snubbed the Royal Marines after stepping down as a senior royal.

Prince Harry sued Associated Newspapers for libel over two "almost identical" articles published in October in the newspaper and MailOnline, which claimed he had "not been in touch... since his last appearance as an honorary Marine in March".

At a brief remote High Court hearing on Monday morning, the duke's lawyers said Associated Newspapers have accepted the allegations were false, "albeit after considerable damage was already done".

Jenny Afia, representing the duke, said: "The baseless, false and defamatory stories published in the Mail on Sunday and on the website MailOnline constituted not only a personal attack upon the Duke's character but also wrongly brought into question his service to this country."

She added that Harry was donating his damages to the Invictus Games Foundation, which runs the competition for wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women set up by Harry in 2014, "so he could feel something good had come out of the situation".

Duke of Sussex during a visit to 42 Commando Royal Marines at their base in Bickleigh in 2019
Duke of Sussex during a visit to 42 Commando Royal Marines at their base in Bickleigh in 2019. Picture: PA

After the hearing, a spokesman for the Duke of Sussex said in a statement: "Today, the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline publicly admitted in open court that they pushed a completely false and defamatory story.

"And they've apologised for questioning the Duke of Sussex's commitment to the Royal Marines and British armed forces.

"The truth is that the Duke's commitment to the military community is unquestionable.

"Unsurprisingly, The Mail again misled their readers in December by claiming to make a charitable donation as part of an initial apology. They did no such thing.

"The duke is personally donating the significant damages recovered from this legal resolution to the Invictus Games Foundation."

More to follow...

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