Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is arguably the most litigious member of the British royal family, with a series of high-profile lawsuits against major media outlets in the United Kingdom. His ongoing legal battles represent not just personal grievances but a broader fight against unethical media practices.
A Royal at the Forefront of Media Reform
The 39-year-old royal's tumultuous relationship with the press is no secret. Stemming from a deep-seated resentment towards the tabloid media, which he believes played a role in his mother’s tragic death, Prince Harry has positioned himself as a champion for a more responsible media landscape.
His memoir and various public statements have shed light on his perspective and motivation in these legal pursuits.
The Litigation Landscape
Prince Harry's legal endeavors span several cases against some of the UK’s largest media groups, each with its unique set of allegations and legal complexities.
Case Against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) The most recent case that has caught the public's attention involves Prince Harry and several high-profile figures, including Sir Elton John and David Furnish. This group alleges that ANL, the publisher of the Daily Mail and MailOnline, engaged in criminal activities to obtain personal information.
The accusations include planting listening devices, recording private calls, and engaging in impersonation to access medical records, among others. ANL has consistently denied these allegations. This month, Britain’s High Court allowed this case to proceed, dismissing ANL’s argument that the claims were brought too late, a significant step for Prince Harry and his co-claimants in their legal battle against alleged unlawful information gathering.
Second Lawsuit Against ANL In another legal front, Prince Harry is suing ANL for libel over a February 2022 Mail on Sunday article regarding his legal proceedings against the UK Home Office over his family’s security detail.
ANL argues that the article was an “honest opinion” and did not inflict “serious harm” to his reputation. The case awaits a decision from Justice Nicklin.
Legal Actions Against Other Publishers
Additionally, Prince Harry has ongoing lawsuits against News Group Newspapers (NGN) and Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), both initiated in 2019.
The claims against NGN and MGN involve allegations of voicemail interception, obtaining private information through deception, and employing private investigators to gain illegal access to personal information. The trial against MGN, which began in May, is particularly notable as it featured Prince Harry in the witness box – a rare occurrence for a senior royal.
This case, along with the others, underscores Prince Harry’s resolve in challenging what he views as invasive and unethical media practices.