Prince Harry has settled a legal dispute with the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline, accepting what his legal team called “significant damages” over an article alleging he had turned his back on the Royal Marines.
Jenny Afia, a lawyer for the The Duke of Sussex, said in a statement to open court on Monday that “the baseless, false and defamatory stories published constituted not only a personal attack on the Duke’s character, but also wrongly brought into question his service to this country.”
The Duke has requested any damages received go to the Invictus Games Foundation, “so he could feel something good had come out of the situation,” his lawyer said. The settlement amount was not made public.
The Invictus Games were founded by the prince for wounded members of the armed forces. Prince Harry served in the British military, and flew combat missions in Afghanistan.
The Mail on Sunday published the article “Top General accuses Harry of Turning his Back on the Marines” on October 25, 2020, and the MailOnline published an almost identical piece.
Both stories alleged that the prince had “snubbed” the Royal Marines and the British military and ignored correspondence from Lord Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff.
“All these allegations are false as the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline have now accepted, albeit after considerable damage was already done,” Afia said on Monday.
The Mail on Sunday offered to settle the dispute on December 3, 2020, saying it would publish apologies, pay substantial damages and not repeat the same allegations. The newspaper ran an apology to the prince detailing the shortcomings in the article in late December.
“The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline publicly admitted in open court that they pushed a completely false and defamatory story. And they’ve apologized for questioning The Duke of Sussex’s commitment to the Royal Marines and British Armed Forces,” a spokesperson for The Duke of Sussex said.
The Mail on Sunday declined to comment.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex cut off all dealings with four big tabloid newspapers including the Daily Mail in April 2020 after years of strained relations. The couple have had a rough time with the media since getting together and have spoken out against what they say is the relentless and aggressive coverage of Meghan in particular.