Mail on Sunday settle with Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, over allegations regarding “distancing” from the British Armed Forces

A unilateral statement open court was presented before Justice Nicklin in the case bought by the Duke of Sussex against the Mail on Sunday.

The settlement concerns an article published on 25 October 2020 that alleged that the Prince had distanced himself from the British Army and the Royal Marines in particular ignoring correspondence from Lord Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff.

The Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline admitted the falisity of the statements.

The Statement recounted the Duke’s continuing efforts to engage with the British Armed Forces including the Royal Marines.

It highlighted that the article has remained published for 33 days, all the while disparaging the Duke’s relationship with the British Armed Forces.

A settlement offer was made to the Duke on 3rd December 2020 and accepted on 21st October 2020. Am apology to be placed in the Corrections and Clarifications columns was agreed.

As is typical with these statements attention was drawn to the fact that the intention was to settle the case and prevent further costly litigation. It was stated that the damage caused by the article in relation to these reparations was disproportionate.

The correction was published in the Mail on Sunday an area of the paper far smaller than the original article and in a right hand page which garners significantly more attention. There was no heading to the apology.

The MailOnline published a similar correction and clarification the garnered 9 shares compared to the 1,000 shares and 3,000 reader comments on the original article. The apology was also only published on the MailOline app for a period of 24 hours despite 64% of the readership having used the app to read articles, meaning a significantly less number of readers would have read the apology.

Importantly both Defendants were alleged to have used wording which significantly underplayed the seriousness of the complaint. Further they failed to acknowledge the statements were false meaning the Duke had to resort to a Statement in Open Court.

The Defendant had offered to donate the proceeds of the settlement to the Invictus Games Foundation. However, the apology did not state the Duke has decided to donate the settlement monies to the Invictus Games Foundation after receiving them himself so he could feel that some good had come of the case.

See coverage of the settlement on:

Inforrm

Sky

Independent

BBC

Prince Harry to sue Sun, News of the World, and the Daily Mirror for phone-hacking

Following issuing a strong statement denouncing the British Press on 01 October 2019 Prince Harry has launched his own legal claim against news outlets the Sun, News of the World and Daily Mirror for phone hacking.

The case comes following his spouse Meghan Markle issuing proceedings against the Mail on Sunday on grounds of misuse of private information, breach of copyright and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Many practitioners will be aware of the leading phone hacking case of Gulati, which covered historic News of the World phone hacking. This set the bar for damages at £10,000 per year of serious phone hacking. The case set out standardised elements and covered awards for a variety of famous claimants.

Prince Harry is set to be the latest of these claimants in a series of litigation the likes which is unprecedented from the Royal Family. It is now apparent why his statement was so strong worded. This is the most significant action of the Royal Family against the press to date.