The Duke of Sussex sued The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline over two stories published in October that included claims he had “not been in touch … since his last appearance as an honorary Marine in March”. The stories cited “informed sources”.
In documents filed with the High Court just before Christmas, the duke’s lawyers said Harry had been “personally affronted” by the articles which had “caused huge damage to his reputation”.
Lawyers also claimed Harry’s ability to help veterans and serving military by attracting public support were “seriously” hampered by the allegations as they would “diminish his credibility in the eyes of (military) personnel”.
The Mail on Sunday, owned by Associated Newspapers, printed an apology on December 27, accepting the duke had been in touch with the Royal Marines. It said it had made a donation to the foundation managing the duke’s Invictus Games.
A High Court hearing led by Mr Justice Nicklin is expected to hear details of the settlement of Harry’s claim against Associated Newspapers. The hearing is due to begin at 10.30am on Monday.
When Harry and his wife Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals and moved to the US, his honorary military titles, including the post of Captain General of the Royal Marines, were put on hold.
The titles will be examined in March as part of the 12-month review of the Sussexes' departure arrangements.
The Mail On Sunday published an article on October 25 claiming “exasperated top brass” were considering replacing Harry because he “has not been in touch by phone, letter nor email since his last appearance as an honorary Marine”.
It alleged the duke had not responded to a personal letter from Lord Dannatt, a former head of the British Army, and quoted a retired senior officer who called on Harry to “take the job seriously”.
Harry’s lawyers said in court documents that The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline “disregarded the claimant’s reputation in its eagerness to publish a barely researched and one-sided article in pursuit of the imperative to sell newspapers and attract readers to its website”.
They said the duke, who served as an Army officer for 10 years, was “frustrated and saddened” as the articles would diminish his credibility with veterans and serving military with mental health issues “and therefore make them less likely to seek the help being offered”.
They added: “The claimant reasonably fears that this will, in turn, have devastating effects upon such individuals, including leaving them more susceptible to suicide.”