In a decision that came out of nowhere, Prince Harry decided to withdraw his libel claim against The Mail on Sunday newspaper.
"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," a Sussex spokesperson revealed after Harry's withdrawal went public.
The Duke of Sussex, who lives in California, sued the publication over a February 2022 story that analyzed his desire for taxpayer-funded security for himself and his family while in Britain. Such protection is only afforded to working, senior members of the British royal family, who obviously reside full-time in the United Kingdom.
This new development comes amid the fifth in line to the throne's lawsuit against Associated Newspapers in the U.K. On Monday, December 11, 2023, a judge dismissed the Montecito Duke's bid to have the newspaper conglomerate's defense of his claim thrown out. The judge further added that Harry should pay the corporation £48,447 "on account" before the start of 2024.
With his libel claim now withdrawn, of which the Duke or his team did not provide a specific reason why, the fiery-haired prince must now pay the publisher's legal fees that are reported to be near or above some 250,000 pounds, or about $316,000. The Sussex spokesperson was grilled by reporters on this matter and only said that it was "premature" to discuss what the rebel prince owes.
Furthermore, The Daily Mail also spilled how the Montecito Duke withdrew his two-year-old claim a mere "hours" before his attorneys would have been required to hand over essential documents. This now forfeits the need for a trial, which was set to occur between May and July.
The father-of-two's attorneys called the 2022 story "an attack on his honesty and integrity" and added how it "purported to reveal, in sensational terms," the court documents "contradicted public statements he had previously made about his willingness to pay for police protection for himself and his family whilst in the U.K."
"I don’t think he deserves [it]. It’s police with guns. He can get a second-grade one if he wants with no trouble at all. But if he wants that, he takes them off the street for people like you and me. They will have to have four of them, [and] three times a day they change. I think that’s really dangerous. I hope that the decision that’s made is that he can have very good protection," royal biographer Angela Levin told a publication in December 2023 when discussing how Harry's wish would remove police from the streets of London.
Harry's case alleging "unlawful information gathering" against Associated Newspapers is still set to go to trial this year. The prince is widely predicted to win his suit in this claim, which is part of a wider suit involving multiple celebrities who claim their phones were hacked by journalists.
The New York Times reported on Harry's suit withdrawal.