Latest hearing in Prince Harry’s libel claim against Mail on Sunday publisher

ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry reports from the High Court

The latest hearing in the Duke of Sussex’s libel claim against the publisher of The Mail on Sunday over an article about the duke’s challenge against the Home Office over security arrangements is due to take place at the High Court.

Harry is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article about his separate High Court claim regarding security arrangements for himself and his family when they are in the UK. ANL is contesting the claim.

The story was published in February 2022 under the headline: “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret… then – just minutes after the story broke – his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute”.

A preliminary hearing in the libel case is now due to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday.

It comes after the libel claim was temporarily paused in December last year to see if a settlement could be reached between the duke and the publisher.

Judge Barbara Fontaine was previously told Harry and ANL had agreed to continue efforts to reach a settlement, but that if no settlement was agreed, the duke would ask the court to either strike out ANL’s defence or give summary judgment in his favour, avoiding the need for a trial.

Last July Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Harry’s favour on the first stage of the claim, relating to the “objective meaning” of the article.

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The judge found the article was defamatory, saying a normal reader would understand from the article that Harry “was responsible for public statements, issued on his behalf, which claimed that he was willing to pay for police protection in the UK, and that his legal challenge was to the Government’s refusal to permit him to do so, whereas the true position, as revealed in documents filed in the legal proceedings, was that he had only made the offer to pay after the proceedings had commenced”.

Harry is bringing the separate proceedings against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

Last year the duke was given the go-ahead for a full hearing in his challenge against a decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec), which falls under the remit of the Home Office.

No date has yet been set for that hearing.