A newspaper report about Prince Harry’s legal battle with the UK government over his security arrangements implied he lied and tried to manipulate public opinion, lawyers for Queen Elizabeth’s grandson said on Thursday .
Harry is suing Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday, for defamation over a February article which alleged he tried to keep details of his legal fight to restore his police protection secret, and his aides then tried to put a twist positive. above.
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Associated Newspapers denies the article was defamatory.
It is the latest legal row between Harry and his wife Meghan and the media group, reflecting their dislike of the British tabloid press in general and its regular criticism of the royal couple.
Thursday’s preliminary hearing in the High Court in London focused on what a reader would conclude to be the ‘natural and ordinary’ meaning of the Mail story.
Harry’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, said the ‘consistently negative’ article implied the prince lied in a statement in which he said he was always prepared to pay for police protection when he was in Britain, and had tried to manipulate the public by allowing his “spin doctors” to make false claims.
A reader would believe Harry had tried to keep the legal fight with the government a secret and expected the public to pay for his protection, Rushbrooke said.
The paper’s lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, said drawing such conclusions would be a ‘quantum leap’, and the article had ‘unequivocally’ implied that Harry’s PR team was involved in the release of documents which confused the public and not the prince himself.
He argued that the article simply reflected the fact that Harry had initially asked for a far-reaching confidentiality order over his fight with the government, a position he later agreed to relax.
The judge, Matthew Nicklin, said he would rule on the matter at a later date.
Last Friday, Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made their first public appearance together in Britain since stepping down as royals two years ago at a a service of thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, where they were met. cheers and a few boos.
The couple moved to the US, in part because Harry said the press was destroying his sanity, and now live in California with their two young children, son Archie and daughter Lilibet, who is named after the Queen , his great-grandmother.
Last year, Meghan won a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday after it printed extracts from a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father in 2018.
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