Harry Accuses Tabloid of Running 'Gratuitous' Photos of Meghan and Kids

Prince Harry's lawyers say a tabloid published "numerous gratuitous photographs" of him, Meghan and their children on a story that also libeled him, a court filing shows.

The Duke of Sussex is suing the Mail on Sunday for damages at the High Court in London over a February exclusive about his dispute with the U.K. government over the removal of his police protection.

A court filing by his lawyers not only accused the newspaper of "distortion and misrepresentation of the facts," but also commented on the number of pictures in the online version of the article, published by MailOnline.

The document, seen by Newsweek, reads: "The Online Article was published by the Defendant [the Mail] as an 'Exclusive' and given huge prominence as the lead story on its home page.

"Further, it included numerous gratuitous photographs of [Prince Harry] and his wife and family."

The online article contained four images, including three of Meghan and Harry from their days as working royals and one of them with children Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor taken from their 2022 Christmas card, when accessed by Newsweek on March 22.

It is not retrospectively clear what pictures were used on the home page to accompany the headline and summary of the story.

Harry's court filings say the Mail on Sunday's coverage suggested he "lied in his initial public statements to the effect that he had always been willing to pay for police protection in the U.K."

The prince released a statement by his legal representative in January outlining how he had offered to pay for his police protection in a private meeting with the royals in January 2020, known in the media as the "Sandringham Summit."

Prince Harry, Meghan Visit New Zealand
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, flanked by police protection officers, meet the public at Viaduct Harbour, in Auckland, New Zealand, on October 30, 2018. Harry is suing the U.K. Government for removing his police security. Phil Walter/Getty Images

Seen by Newsweek, the statement read: "The Duke first offered to pay personally for U.K. police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham.

"That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer."

The Mail on Sunday's article quoted a Home Office court filing which said Harry did not make the offer to pay for his own security to the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC) which makes decisions on police protection at the time of a June 2021 visit to Britain, court filings show.

Government lawyers also said he did not make the offer in early correspondence ahead of his judicial review of the Home Office decision, which was ultimately filed in September 2021.

The Mail on Sunday's article said: "The revelations are a crushing rebuttal to Harry's initial public statement that implied he had always been willing to foot the bill."

Harry's court filing read: "The Home Office's [filing] clearly only claims that [Prince Harry] did not advance his offer to pay to RAVEC [the Royal and VIP Executive Committee] at the time of [Prince Harry's] visit to Great Britain in June 2021 or in the pre-action correspondence that followed.

"It does not refer to or dispute in any way what was stated in [Prince Harry's] public statement and his reference to the fact that he 'first offered to pay personally for U.K. police protection for him and his family in January 2020 at Sandringham.'"

Court documents show the Mail on Sunday has privately accused Harry of pursuing a media strategy through the legal action.

The filing by Harry's lawyers reads: "Instead of responding substantively to [Prince Harry's] complaint (which a full pre-publication audit-trail would have enabled the
[the Mail on Sunday] to swiftly do), [the Mail on Sunday] accused [Prince Harry] of
pursuing an improper media strategy, both (a) in its ill-tempered email timed at 18.07 on 23 February 2022 in which [Prince Harry] was accused of 'chill[ing] further discussion' and issuing proceedings for his own "media management purposes."

"And (b) in its letter dated 24 February 2022 alleging that [Prince Harry] only issued his Claim Form 'as part of his continuing self-declared battle with anyone in the media who dares to publish anything about him which is less than flattering.' Such an accusation was as baseless as it was offensive."

The document continued: "[Prince Harry] has been upset (but sadly unsurprised) by [the Mail's] distortion and misrepresentation of the facts in breach of the most basic journalistic standards and ethics."

The Mail on Sunday's story was headlined: "REVEALED: How Harry tried to keep his legal fight over bodyguards secret....then minutes after MoS broke story his PR machine tried to put positive spin on the dispute."

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