Prince Harry’s libel case against the Mail on Sunday over an article about security arrangements must go to trial, a judge at London’s High Court has ruled – rejecting a bid to have the publisher’s defence thrown out.
The Duke of Sussex, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article published in February 2022, covering his legal challenge against the Home Office following a decision to change his publicly funded security arrangements when visiting the UK.
The story claimed Harry “tried to keep details of his legal battle to reinstate his police protection secret from the public”.
His lawyers have said this was “an attack on his honesty and integrity” and would undermine his charity work and efforts to tackle misinformation online.
ANL argues the article expressed an “honest opinion” and did not cause “serious harm” to Harry’s reputation, and is contesting the claim.
At a hearing in March, the dukes lawyers launched a bid to have ANL’s defence thrown out and for judgment to be granted in his favour without a trial.
However, in a written ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Nicklin refused to “strike out” ANL’s defence – concluding the publisher had a “real prospect” of arguing its case that previous press statements from Harry provided a “misleading” description of his case against the Home Office.
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In a summary of his ruling, the judge said: “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.”
The judgment comes a day after the High Court finished hearing a separate case about Harry’s security arangements. As well as suing ANL about its article on the subject, the duke is also taking legal action against the Home Office over the decision in February 2020 that meant he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting.
In that case, he claims the decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) – which comes under the Home Office’s remit – was “unlawful and unfair”.
A different judge is dealing with that case and a judgment is expected at a later date.
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