Prince Harry Says Tabloid Caused 'Considerable Distress' in Libel Lawsuit

Prince Harry accused a U.K. tabloid of causing "upset and distress and injury to his feelings" with an exclusive story about his police security, Newsweek can reveal.

The Duke of Sussex's lawyers said in a new libel lawsuit that the Mail on Sunday was responsible for "distortion and misrepresentation of the facts".

The case relates to whether Prince Harry lied about having always been willing to pay for his police protection—a suggestion he says is defamatory, a court filing shows.

The California-based royal is suing through the High Court, in London, over the newspaper's coverage of a lawsuit he filed against the U.K. government.

The MoS is the same newspaper famously and successfully sued by Harry's wife Meghan Markle for breach of privacy and copyright during a saga that lasted three years.

A court filing, seen by Newsweek, read: "[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 newspaper ran an exclusive story on February 20 suggesting Harry had used his PR machine to misrepresent the nature of a lawsuit against the U.K. Home Office, according to the court filing.

The prince is suing the British government over its decision to remove his police protection on trips to Britain.

The Mail on Sunday broke the story in January, prompting the duke's legal representative to issue a statement saying he had offered to pay for the security detail himself in a meeting with the royals in 2020.

A Home Office court filing later said Harry had not made the offer during early correspondence for the judicial review, which he applied for in September 2021. However, it made no mention one way or the other of any offer at the meeting with the royals in 2020.

The Mail on Sunday then ran a story 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."

Quoted in the court filing, the article read: "The revelations are a crushing rebuttal to Harry's initial public statement that implied he had always been willing to foot the bill."

The duke'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 UK police protection for him and his family in January 2020 at Sandringham. That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer'."

For more royal news and commentary check out Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast:

Harry's lawyers said in the paperwork that the meaning of the Mail's article was that he "lied in his initial public statements."

They said the account was untrue and defamatory and brought down an avalanche of criticism in web article comments.

Their court filing reads: "It must have been plain to [The Mail on Sunday] that by giving these serious allegations such huge publicity in the terms and manner that it did, leading to inevitable repetition and the feeding frenzy of hostile comments it could not but cause [Prince Harry's] reputation substantial damage and cause considerable distress and hurt to [Prince Harry], as has been the case."

It added: "[The Mail's] refusal to take down the Online Article and/or even mark it as the subject of a legal claim (in accordance with standard industry practice) and/or publish an apology to [Prince Harry] has meant that [Prince Harry] has been unable to mitigate at least some of the serious harm done to his reputation by virtue of the widespread and continuing dissemination of the Articles.

"As a result of [the Mail's] conduct pleaded above, [Prince Harry] has suffered increased upset and distress and injury to his feelings."

Prince Harry is seeking damages for libel at the High Court, in London, and an injunction barring the newspaper from repeating the claims he says are defamatory.

He also wants the newspaper to publish a summary of any judgement made by the court.

Newsweek has approached Prince Harry and the Mail on Sunday for comment.

Prince Harry Meets Crowds in Australia
Prince Harry meets the public at Sydney Opera House, in Australia, on October 16, 2018. He is suing the Mail on Sunday for libel. Chris Jackson/Getty Images