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The Sussexes

The Duke of Sussex accepts damages from Mail publishers in libel case

The Duke of Sussex has accepted an apology and damages from the publishers of the Mail on Sunday newspaper and the Mail Online over an article claiming he had ‘’turned his back’’ on the Armed Forces.

The pieces, published in October 2020, claimed that Prince Harry had snubbed the Royal Marines after stepping down as a senior royal in March 2020 and hadn’t been in touch with them since his departure. The Duke of Sussex sued Associated Newspapers for libel over the two articles.

Lawyers for the Duke of Sussex described the claims as a personal attack and said the allegation was ‘’baseless, false and defamatory’’. They added that he had made ‘’repeated and concerted efforts’’ to show his support for the Marines since stepping back.

The remote hearing, in London on February 1st 2021, heard the prince’s legal team describe his pride in his association with the military and his ten years in the Army. Harry left active service in 2015 but his legal team said he had ‘’maintained active links with those forces ever since and will continue to do so in the future.’’

Representing the Duke of Sussex, Jenny Afia told the hearing, ‘’the Duke’s commitment to the men and women who have put their lives on the line, to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and to military families, is steadfast and unquestionable.’’

The Mail had originally apologised in December 2020 for the article. However, the Duke’s team said that it hadn’t been as prominent as the original allegations and ‘’used wording which significantly underplayed the seriousness of the accusations made against him.’’

The Mail on Sunday had offered to pay the damages directly to the Invictus Games Foundation. However, Prince Harry said he wanted the money to come to him, enabling him to make the donation personally so that he could ‘’feel something good has come out of the situation.’’

The total amount of damages paid hasn’t been disclosed but they are described as substantial.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.