Prince Harry withdraws libel claim against UK publisher

Prince Harry has dropped his libel lawsuit against UK publisher the Mail on Sunday, Page Six can confirm.

A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex tells us Friday that the decision was made as the royal awaits to hear whether the Royal and VIP Executive Committee “acted lawfully with regard to his security.”

“His focus remains there, and on the safety of his family, rather than these legal proceedings that give a continued platform to the Mail’s false claims all those years ago,” the rep adds.

However, according to the Daily Mail, whose publisher is the Mail on Sunday, Harry and his attorneys had a deadline Friday to submit “relevant documents” that could have been used in a trial — but they decided to withdraw the case.

The outlet claims the “Spare” author will have to pay more than £750,000, including £250,000 in costs and attorney’s fees.

His spokesperson says in response, however, “The costs in the case are to be determined and it’s premature to speculate on.” 

Harry, 39, first filed the libel lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday with London’s High Court in February 2022.

Harry had sued over an article that accused him of lying about his offer to pay for police protection. AFP via Getty Images

He was seeking damages over the paper’s claims he lied about offering to pay for his own police protection in the UK.

The article — published both on the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online — in February 2022 has a headline that reads, “How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret … then — just minutes after the story broke — his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.”

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Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, were stripped of their tax-funded security following their bombshell “Megxit” in 2020, when they quit being working senior members of the royal family.

He reportedly disputed in the suit that the Mail’s story “unfairly accused him of trying to confuse the public.”

Harry and Meghan Markle were stripped of their police security after “Megxit” in 2020. Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Last month, a judge ruled against the duke in a preliminary round of the case, noting that the royal’s team failed to properly argue against the defense’s claim that the article in question reflected an honest opinion.

Justice Matthew Nicklin said in the December 2023 ruling that “it is not fanciful that the Defendant will be successful, at trial.”

Harry’s rep tells Page Six Friday of the ruling, “This is a surprising defense given the article was not labelled as opinion, printed in the news section of the paper and was presented as an ‘exclusive’ written by an assistant editor.”

Harry’s focus is “on the safety of his family,” his rep tells Page Six. Alexi Lubomirski / Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Nicklin’s decision came after three days of hearings, in which Harry tried to prove that police protection being taken away from him and his immediate family — which includes 3-year-old Archie and 1-year-old Lilibet — was not only unfair but also unsafe.

He testified he would be putting Markle, 42, “in danger” and himself in “harm’s way” if they are not provided with the appropriate protection.

Harry has made similar claims in the past, stating via his attorneys in January 2022 that although he pays for a private security team, more protection is needed as his family “has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats” in the UK.

Harry and Markle were stripped of police protection after they quit being working senior members of the royal family. WireImage

“The Duke first offered to pay personally for UK 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 statement further claimed.

His lawyers added at the time, “The UK will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.”