Prince Harry has dragged his brother into his war against the British press by claiming the future king has “quietly” settled a phone hacking claim for a “very large sum”.
The Duke of Sussex alleged that Prince William received the payment as part of a “secret arrangement” and accused the Queen of being in on the deal.
He received the money ‘behind the scenes’ in 2020 from News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, it is claimed.
It came to light as part of Prince Harry’s battle against NGN with actor Hugh Grant, who is suing the group for allegedly collecting illegal information in titles.
Today, the news group urged Judge Fancourt to dismiss both lawsuits in the High Court, arguing that they had been filed too late.
Prince Harry has dragged his brother (pictured together) into his war on the British press by claiming the future king has “quietly” settled a phone hacking claim for a “very large sum”.
The Duke of Sussex alleged that Prince William (pictured with Kate) received the payment as part of a “secret deal”
However, David Sherborne, representing Harry, said the “secret agreement” meant that “the plaintiff could not bring a claim against NGN for phone hacking at that time.”
He said the Queen was personally involved in the “discussions and clearance” of this deal.
Prince Harry, who was watching via video link, submitted a 31-page witness statement revealing his brother’s payment “to prove the existence of this secret arrangement.”
The settlement reportedly caused the Royal Family to agree not to pursue NGN until after the conclusion of the newspaper group’s court battle with other hacking claimants, at which point the royal’s claims would be “admitted or settled with an apology.” “.
But NGN’s Anthony Hudson KC said the publisher’s position was that “there was no such secret deal.”
It said that while the communications show that ‘discussions took place between the Palace and NGN’, they ‘do not provide any support to the suggestion that there was an agreement whereby NGN would waive its right to bring a limitation defense in response. to any claim by members of the royal family’.
Prince Harry claimed the deal was reached to “avoid the situation” where the royals would have to “sit on the witness stand and tell the specific details” of private voicemails.
He said his family was “incredibly nervous about this and wanted to avoid it at all costs” after the damaging Tampongate call intercepted between King Charles and Queen Camilla in 1989.
Representatives for Prince Harry said the Queen was personally involved in the “discussions and clearance” of this deal.
The Duke of Sussex said he and his brother were told about the “secret agreement”, which prevented them from making any claims, in 2012.
But he was frustrated when it had not yet been resolved by 2018 when he and Meghan Markle celebrated their wedding, to which “the main culprits of this abuse” would be invited.
He said: “I remember talking to my brother and saying something to the effect of: ‘Enough of this, I want permission to push for a resolution to our phone hacking claims and a formal apology from Murdoch to any of his people.’ allowed anywhere near the wedding.”
Prince Harry said William was “very understanding and supportive” and suggested that he “seek Granny’s permission.”
The Duke of Sussex said: “I spoke to her shortly after and said something to the effect of: ‘Are you happy that I’m going through with this? Do I have your permission?” And she said yes.’
It claimed the Queen gave her communications director Sally Osman the “green light” to pressure NGN executives to “negotiate a resolution and an apology from Mr Murdoch”.
But Prince Harry claimed he was “frustrated” when there was a “secret deal extension” as NGN was not ready to apologize in time for the wedding.
He finally decided to “break with royal tradition and instruct my own lawyer to start a phone hacking process against NGN” in 2019.
Prince Harry claimed he was “frustrated” when there was a “secret agreement extension” as NGN was not ready to apologize in time for his wedding to Meghan.
But having done so, he was summoned to Buckingham Palace and specifically told to drop legal action because it has an ‘effect on the whole family’.
He claimed this was “a direct request, or rather a demand, from my father” and senior royal staff.
Prince Harry then compared his deal to that of his brother, whom he said “settled his claim for a large sum of money in 2020” without being “submitted to a similar takedown request by NGN, without the government being informed.” public, and apparently with favorable treatment in exchange for him going ‘quietly’, so to speak.
He said: ‘This proves the existence of this secret agreement between the institution and the top executives of NGN.’
Lord Grabiner KC, the former independent chair of the management and standards committee set up by News Corp to investigate allegations of wiretapping, denied knowledge of a secret deal between the executives and the royal family.
“I can confirm with great confidence that such an agreement was never mentioned to me or otherwise brought to my attention,” he said in a witness statement.
“Nor am I aware of any agreement whereby NGN waived its right to raise the limitation exception on any claim brought by members of the Royal Family.”
Harry is fighting three separate legal battles against three media groups, all alleging that illegal activities were used to target him in the name of journalism.
Last month he appeared in person for his case against the publisher of the Daily Mail, and a judge is considering whether that case should be allowed to go to full trial.
Kensington Palace declined to comment on behalf of the Prince of Wales.