Prince Harry's libel case over article about his security arrangements must go to trial, judge rules

8 December 2023, 10:25 | Updated: 8 December 2023, 11:21

Prince Harry's libel case over an article about his security arrangements will go to trial
Prince Harry's libel case over an article about his security arrangements will go to trial. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Prince Harry's libel claim over an article about his security arrangements must go to trial, a judge has ruled.

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Harry is suing Mail on Sunday publisher Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article from February 2022.

It was about his legal challenge against the Home Office following a decision to change his security arrangements during his UK visits.

The article suggested he "tried to keep details of his legal battle to reinstate his police protection secret from the public".

Harry's lawyers argued that it was "an attack on his honesty and integrity" and undermined his charity work.

Read more: ‘The UK is my home and Meghan and I were forced to leave,’ Prince Harry says in High Court security battle

Read more: Harry and Meghan say they were invited to 'wedding of the year' and not snubbed as they 'refuse to go over awkwardness'

ANL contested the claim, arguing the article expressed an "honest opinion" and did not cause "serious harm" to his reputation.

Harry applied to have the defence thrown out, but Judge Matthew Nicklin refused saying it had a real prospect of success.

"Overall, it is not fanciful that the defendant will be successful, at trial, in demonstrating that the public statements issued on the claimant's behalf sought to promote the judicial review claim as his battle against the Government's (perverse) decision to refuse to allow him to pay for his own security," he said.

"There is a real prospect that the defendant will succeed in demonstrating that this was a misleading description of the issues in the judicial review claim, arguably promoted because it was hoped to show the claimant's judicial review claim in a positive light, whereas a portrayal of the judicial review claim as the claimant trying to force the Government to reinstate his, taxpayer-funded, state security risked his appearing in a negative light."

Unless both parties reach an agreement, another hearing will take place on December 12.

The judge added in a summary of his ruling: "The Duke of Sussex's claim will now go through its remaining pre-trial phases and, unless resolved in some other way, to a trial at some point in 2024."

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