Prince Harry wins first round of defamation case against the Mail on Sunday

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Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Prince Harry has won the first hearing of his defamation case against the Mail On Sunday newspaper, who published an article alleging that the royal had 'lied' and attempted to 'manipulate' the public with regards to his and wife Meghan Markle's concerns over their access to high-level security (along with offering to fund said protection). The ruling basically means a judge has agreed with Harry's interpretation of what the article is saying, but in no way does this mean he's won the entire claim against the MOS.

The royal's team said the paper's words caused "substantial hurt, embarrassment and distress, which is continuing" – however, the judge overseeing proceedings has made it clear that while Harry has won this first round, the case is far from over. The Mail On Sunday are now able to decide if they want to carry on with the proceedings and launch a defence of their own.

Mr Justice Nicklin said, as per the BBC: "I should reiterate that the decision made in this judgment is solely concerned with the objective meaning of the article published by the defendant for the purposes of the claimant's defamation claim.

Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images
Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images

"This is very much the first phase in a libel claim. The next step will be for the defendant to file a defence to the claim. It will be a matter for determination later in the proceedings whether the claim succeeds or fails, and if so on what basis."

Speaking on behalf of the Duke of Sussex, barrister Justin Rushbrooke put forward the argument that the MOS's article implied the royal had "lied in his initial public statements" when he stated he was willing to pay for police protection for himself and his family when in the UK.

It's reported that the story suggested "he had only made such an offer after his dispute had started and after his visit to the UK in June 2021" – whereas Harry has said repeatedly (and during his separate ongoing case against the Home Office) that he'd offered to personally pay for security, if only it could be made available to him, from the get-go.

Here's hoping things are smoothed out quickly...

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