The Duke of Sussex has lost a bid to have The Mail on Sunday publisher’s defence to his libel claim thrown out by the High Court.
Harry, 39, has sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over a February 2022 article about his legal challenge against the Home Office following a decision to change his publicly funded security arrangements when visiting the UK, claiming it was “an attack on his honesty and integrity”.
ANL is contesting the claim, arguing the article expressed an “honest opinion” and did not cause “serious harm” to his reputation.
The duke previously asked the High Court to strike out ANL’s “honest opinion” defence or grant judgment in his favour on it.
In a written ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Nicklin refused to “strike out” ANL’s defence.
He said: “Overall, it is not fanciful that the defendant will be successful, at trial, in demonstrating that the public statements issued on the claimant’s behalf sought to promote the judicial review claim as his battle against the Government’s (perverse) decision to refuse to allow him to pay for his own security.
“There is a real prospect that the defendant will succeed in demonstrating that this was a misleading description of the issues in the judicial review claim, arguably promoted because it was hoped to show the claimant’s judicial review claim in a positive light, whereas a portrayal of the judicial review claim as the claimant trying to force the Government to reinstate his, taxpayer-funded, state security risked his appearing in a negative light.”