/Why Prince Harrys Court Case Is Raising Eyebrows Just Before Charless Coronation

Why Prince Harrys Court Case Is Raising Eyebrows Just Before Charless Coronation

Prince Harry has just brought the royal family’s relationship with the media into the spotlight again, just days before his father’s coronation.

The Duke of Sussex has made a series of revelations in court documents he’s submitted as part of his case against the publisher of The Sun and now-defunct News Of The World, News Group Newspapers, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Harry is suing the publisher at London’s High Court over multiple unlawful acts allegedly committed on behalf of its tabloids, between the mid-1990s and 2016, including phone-hacking.

NGN has paid out millions already to settle more than 1,000 phone-hacking cases, and so it is trying to strike out Harry’s claim by claiming it’s too old.

As he tries to stop his case being thrown out, the Duke of Sussex has made some serious claims about how the royal family navigate the press in his 31-page witness statement.

All this comes just as the Firm is trying to keep its public image extra polished as King Charles III – Harry’s father – is set to be crowned in an internationally televised event on Saturday, May 6.

While he’s made several allegations about the palace’s media strategy to enhance their own reputations, these claims are, for the most part, new.

And with tensions between the Sussexes and the Firm at an all-time high, this might not exactly help with Harry’s family reunion come May 6...

1. Prince William’s private settlement with The Sun publishers

According to the Duke of Sussex, his older brother quietly accepted a “large sum” of money from the publishers back in 2020 to settle historical phone hacking claims.

Harry claims this was all done “without any of the public being told, and seemingly with some favourable deal in return for him going ‘quietly’ so to speak.”

Social media was then awash with claims that this revelation was all part of Harry’s “revenge era.”

However, sources told the BBC that this was not his intention. It was just a means to stop the publishers from shutting down the claim over its age by showing that William settled the issue only recently.

Harry’s attorney David Sherborne also said: “This is used very much by (Harry) as ‘a shield not a sword’ against NGN’s attack.”

2. William has not commented

William’s spokesperson has not commented on the ongoing legal proceedings.

The publisher has also said it has no comment on this supposed deal with William.

So what happened to this “very large sum” of money? And how much was it?

This supposed settlement is also surprising news considering the Prince of Wales has had his own privacy battles with the media for years, such as when topless photos of his wife were published back in 2012.

William also helped to establish that phone-hacking was even happening in 2005.

The Prince and Princess of Wales on a royal engagement in Birmingham last week
The Prince and Princess of Wales on a royal engagement in Birmingham last week

Neil Mockford via Getty Images

3. What is the “secret agreement”?

Harry has alleged that William’s deal is proof of something between the Palace and the press.

He said: “This goes to prove the existence of this secret agreement between the institution and senior executives at NGN.”

According to Harry, the royals also decided not to pursue their claims against NGN until the phone-hacking litigation was settled.

However, lawyers for the publishers claim that there was no such secret agreement, saying the claims are “without merit in fact or in law”.

NGN’s lawyers added that even if there was a deal, it does not affect the case that the lawsuit was brought too late.

4. Was Harry left out of press deals?

Harry said he was “kept out of the loop” when it came to this deal, claiming: “It would have infuriated me and I would have insisted that I be allowed to take action, especially given my extremely difficult relationship with the press at that time.”

Harry also claimed that this is proof that he couldn’t do anything about it for years – although the newspaper group says royal must have known about the hacking news earlier, having been at the “epicentre” of the story.

They argue that he could have acted sooner, too.

5. The Queen encouraged Harry’s case

According to Harry, the late Queen backed him in 2017 when he was looking for a resolution in his own dispute with NGN – including asking for an apology from Murdoch himself.

But, despite the Queen’s help, the Palace lawyer allegedly told Harry, “Nothing could be done as NGN were not in a position to apologise to Her Majesty the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family at that stage,” because that risked incriminating The Sun.

The Queen with Meghan and Harry in July 2018 on the Buckingham Palace balcony
The Queen with Meghan and Harry in July 2018 on the Buckingham Palace balcony

6. But Charles discouraged him

Harry then turned to his own lawyers in 2019, claiming the publishers had “filibustered” and that he had “had enough” – only for his father to urge him to drop it.

He suggested: “They had a specific long-term strategy to keep the media (including NGN) onside in order to smooth the way for my stepmother (and father) to be accepted by the British public as Queen Consort (and King respectively) when the time came.”

Harry also claimed the royals wanted to keep the media “onside” because they were “incredibly nervous” after being stung by events such as Tampongate in 1993.

That’s when an intimate phone call between Charles and Camilla (when they were both married and engaged in an extramarital affair) was leaked.

The royals therefore wanted to avoid friction which would “upset the apple cart”, especially anything which might meant they had to go to a witness stand and recount painful details.

In his book Spare, Harry also claimed that Charles called his legal case against the media “a suicide mission”.

7. What next?

Harry doesn’t seem likely to settle – and the BBC’s royal correspondent Sean Coughlan speculates that he will probably appear in court.

In his witness statement, the Duke of Sussex said: “What I complain of here is about illegal or unlawful activities, and that is something which I feel incredibly strongly about, not just in a personal capacity but as part of the role I have always taken on, in terms of my duty to stand against things which are unjust.”

He has been furious about the press intrusion and the paparazzi for years, especially as it was something his mother struggled with throughout her life.

As he said in his witness statement, he thinks the media intruded in “every area of my life” and has been like a “third party” in all of his relationships.

Hacking for stories was “disgusting, immoral and a complete abuse of power”, he added.

But, a judge is yet to decide if it will go to full trial in January once the three-day preliminary hearing concludes.

Meanwhile, Harry has another case against a newspaper group lined up for the days after the coronation and two other claims against publishers in the background.

Original Source