L.A. transplant and onetime royal Prince Harry is following in his litigious wife’s footsteps as he scored his first win Friday against the same UK tabloid that Meghan Markle beat in court last year.
Harry, also known as the Duke of Sussex, filed a defamation claim against the newspaper’s publisher, Associated Newspapers Limited, over a succession of articles which he alleged produced “serious damage to his reputation and substantial hurt, embarrassment and distress which is continuing,” Variety reports.
A High Court judge in London made a ruling that will let Harry bring his libel claim to trial when he ruled that a Mail on Sunday article about the “royal’s legal battle with the British government over his police protection in the country” was defamatory, according to People.
The article, published online and in print in February, was titled: “How Harry tried to keep his legal fight over bodyguards secret … then minutes after [Mail on Sunday] broke story his PR machine tried to put positive spin on the dispute.”
According to court documents obtained by the magazine, Justice Nicklin found that parts of the article in the claim were defamatory. Nicklin said the piece “as a whole” did not suggest that Harry “was seeking to keep his ‘legal battle’ with the Government secret,” but it was suggested by the headline if “read alone.”
On Thursday, Harry’s attorneys told the High Court in London that Harry “does not feel safe” bringing his two children to the U.K. after losing his taxpayer-funded police protection and the security intelligence that went with it.
Friday, a judge ruled that the Mail on Sunday‘s articles about Harry were defamatory. The newspaper can still defend the articles, even claim that they are true.”
“This is very much the first phase in a libel claim,” Judge Nicklin said, according to the BBC. “The next step will be for the defendant to file a defence to the claim. It will be a matter for determination later in the proceedings whether the claim succeeds or fails, and if so on what basis.”
Harry started the lawsuit in February of this year.
It’s all sounding familiar: on Boxing Day 2021, the very same paper—the Mail on Sunday—printed a front-page apology to Meghan Markle by means of a statement at the bottom of the page acknowledging that the Duchess won her legal battle—for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. Inside the paper, the Mail on Sunday expanded on the court case, which regarded five articles that had reprinted parts of a “personal and private” letter she sent to her father. She received a symbolic £1.00 in compensation.
The Los Angeles couple also sued photographers after discovering photos of their son Archie playing in the backyard of their home, which was the result of having been besieged by drone flybys in the past.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.