- The Mail on Sunday has apologized to Prince Harry for an article claiming he had turned his back on the Royal Marines since stepping down as a senior royal.
- Harry launched a libel action over the article, with his lawyers calling it "false and defamatory."
- The Mail on Sunday has retracted the article, saying in a statement, "We apologise to Prince Harry and have made a donation to the Invictus Games Foundation."
The Mail on Sunday has apologized to Prince Harry for an October article alleging that he had not been in touch with the Royal Marines since stepping down from his role as Captain General in March. The article further claimed that the Duke of Sussex had ignored a letter from former Army head Lord Dannatt, requesting more support for the British military community. Harry subsequently launched a libel action against the paper's publishers, Associated Newspapers, with his lawyers at London firm Schillings calling the article's claims "false and defamatory."
"An article on 25 October 2020 reported that Prince Harry had been accused by a top general of turning his back on the Royal Marines since withdrawing from his military roles in March and that, in an apparent snub to the Armed Forces, he had failed to reply to a letter from Lord Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff," a statement on the Mail on Sunday's "Clarifications and corrections" page reads, published Sunday.
"We now understand that Harry has been in contact in a private capacity with individuals in the military including in the Royal Marines to offer informal support since March and that whilst he did not initially receive the letter from Lord Dannatt referred to in the article due to administrative issues he has since replied on becoming aware of it," the statement continues. "We apologise to Prince Harry and have made a donation to the Invictus Games Foundation."
In response to the Mail on Sunday's now-retracted article, an aide for Harry told Vanity Fair, "To say he has not been in touch with the Marines is not the case. He had many conversations with former colleagues during the lockdown and is in regular contact with a lot of military personnel on a private and personal basis." Sources close to the Duke told the magazine that he never received Lord Dannatt's letter, and his office subsequently asked for it to be forwarded to his Los Angeles staff.
Harry lost the role of Captain General after he and Meghan Markle stepped down as senior members of the royal family, a loss he was reportedly devastated by. Recent reports suggest he could attempt to regain some of his honorary military titles in upcoming negotiations over the deal the Sussexes struck with the royal family concerning their exit.
After the Mail on Sunday's article was published, an unnamed friend of the royal told Vanity Fair, "He might have been made to give up his titles, but he has not given up on the military, far from it."