Well, this isn’t exactly going Prince Harry‘s way!
The Duke of Sussex has been met with a bitter blow in his battle against one UK publisher. On Thursday, a judge dismissed the 38-year-old’s phone-hacking claims against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World, The Sun, and the Daily Mirror.
In the hearing in London’s High Court on Thursday, Justice Timothy Fancourt determined Harry waited too long to bring the phone-hacking claims to court after allegedly uncovering the scandal years ago. If you didn’t know, NGN actually apologized for widespread phone hacking by journalists at News of the World in 2012 — which led to the newspaper getting shut down amid all the backlash. Interestingly, though, they denied allegations of doing similar things at The Sun. Either way, it was well-known the group had (allegedly) been up to some shady s**t, so they’ve been arguing that Harry should have sued him right when he found out — not after the six-year time limit for legal action. And we guess the judge agreed!
Justice Fancourt also dismissed Harry’s allegation there was a “secret agreement” between Buckingham Palace and the press that restricted him from speaking out sooner, calling it implausible, per DailyMail.com. In the ruling, the official declared the Archewell founder’s case had “not reached the necessary threshold of plausibility and cogency.” Oof. The Sun‘s publisher is already celebrating the win, calling it “a significant victory.”
That said, it doesn’t mean the end of the road. While it’s an unfortunate result for Meghan Markle‘s husband, he did pull out a small win. The judge granted him the right to sue the publisher (owned by Rupert Murdoch) for using other alleged illegal methods to gain information about him and his family – he just can’t bring up the phone-hacking claim! A trial over this will begin in January — unless the parties come to a settlement before then.
As we’ve been following, Harry first sued the company in 2019, claiming the British tabloid hacked his phone to obtain voicemails from 1996 to 2011. He also accused Mirror Group Newspaper Limited and Associated Newspapers, publisher of Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, of using similar unethical methods to get exclusive scoop about his life in separate lawsuits. Those cases are ongoing.
For Meghan’s part, the Suits alum has also dealt with legal issues against the media, and she managed to pull out a win against Associated Newspapers after they published a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle. In December 2021, the Court of Appeals in London upheld a High Court ruling in her favor, finding Mail on Sunday guilty of breaching her privacy. She called it a “precedent-setting” result at the time. We bet Harry’s hoping for some of her luck in court these days. Thoughts? Let us know (below)!