Prince Harry has withdrawn his libel case against Associated Newspapers, which is one of three lawsuits he filed against major U.K. media publishers.
The Duke of Sussex’s lawyers alerted the Daily Mail on Friday, January 19, that they filed a notice with the court on the deadline day for relevant documents. “The Duke of Sussex discontinues all of this claim,” read the message, according to the outlet.
Harry’s lawsuit against the newspaper stemmed from a February 2022 article that questioned his efforts to retain publicly funded protection from the British government. The outlet claimed Harry, 39, tried to keep the details of his legal fight secret and that his aides helped put a positive spin on the situation.
In July 2022, the High Court ruled that parts of the article were defamatory, which advanced the case. Harry, however, recently had a setback in his libel suit when a judge ruled in December 2023 that his legal team hadn’t proven their case pre-trial. As a result, Harry was ordered to pay the publisher’s legal fees of 50,000 pounds, according to the Associated Press.
In addition to the libel lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, Harry also sued Mirror Group Newspapers and News Group Newspapers. A judge ruled in July 2023 that Harry’s case against News Group Newspapers will go forward regarding allegations over unlawful information but will proceed without phone hacking claims.
Harry’s case against Mirror Group Newspapers, meanwhile, was settled last month when a London court ruled in his favor.
Harry sued Mirror Group Newspapers for allegedly hacking his phone to obtain information between 1996 and 2011. While the media company denied the claims, Judge Timothy Fancourt determined in December 2023 that the evidence submitted by Harry’s legal team had been “unlawfully gathered by journalists.” Harry was awarded £140,600 ($180,000) in damages.
“This case is not just about hacking. It is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behavior, followed by clever-ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings,” Harry said in a statement after the ruling. “The journey to justice can be a slow and painful one and since bringing my claim almost five years ago defamatory stories and intimidating tactics have been deployed against me and at my family’s expense.”
He continued: “My commitment to seeing this case through is based on my belief in our need — and collective right — to a free and honest press. And one which is properly accountable when necessary. That is what we need in Britain and across the globe. Anything else is poisoning the well for a profession we all depend on. … I’ve been told that slaying dragons will get you burned but in light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press, it is a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues.”