Prince Harry Won "Substantial Damages" Over "Baseless, False and Defamatory" Stories

Prince Harry has won "substantial damages" from the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after they falsely alleged he had abandoned the British military.

britains prince harry, duke of sussex leaves a service of commemoration and thanksgiving to mark anzac day in westminster abbey in london on april 25, 2019 anzac day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by australian and new zealand forces during the first world war the australian and new zealand army corps anzac landed at gallipoli in turkey during world war i photo by victoria jones pool afp photo credit should read victoria jonesafp via getty images
(Image credit: CHRIS JACKSON)

Prince Harry has won "substantial damages" from Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, over two articles claiming he'd "turned his back" on the British military after stepping down as a senior royal. Harry launched a libel action over the articles, which the Mail on Sunday subsequently retracted.

In a statement read at Monday's remote court hearing, as the BBC reports, the Duke of Sussex's lawyer, Jenny Afia, called the allegations "baseless, false, and defamatory," and stated that Harry would donate the damages to the Invictus Games Foundation, "so he could feel something good had come out of the situation."

Afia said Harry was "proud to have served in the British armed forces for 10 years in Her Majesty's name," adding that the royal "has maintained active links with those forces ever since and will continue to do so in the future."

"The duke's commitment to the men and women who have put their lives on the line, to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and to military families, is steadfast and unquestionable," Afia continued. "For this reason, the baseless, false and defamatory stories published in the Mail on Sunday and on the website Mail Online constituted not only a personal attack upon the Duke's character but also wrongly brought into question his service to this country."

Afia further stated that the Mail on Sunday's official apology, printed on December 27, "used wording which significantly underplayed the seriousness of the accusations made against him." The paper's statement noted that Harry had, in fact, remained in contact with the British military and clarified that he did not receive a letter from former Army head Lord Dannatt due to "administrative issues," concluding, "We apologise to Prince Harry and have made a donation to the Invictus Games Foundation."

In a statement after the court hearing, a spokesperson for Harry said the Duke of Sussex's dedication to the British military community was "unquestionable," the BBC reports.

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Emily Dixon
Emily Dixon

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.