HomeRoyalsPrince Harry Faces Off Against Murdoch's News Group in Ongoing Battle Against...

Prince Harry Faces Off Against Murdoch’s News Group in Ongoing Battle Against UK Tabloids

In his latest effort to challenge the British tabloid press, Prince Harry’s legal team will return to a London court on Tuesday, confronting Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN) over alleged phone hacking incidents.

The younger son of King Charles launched action against NGN, publisher of the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, in September 2019, shortly before he and his wife Meghan stepped back from royal duties and relocated to California.

NGN, which has already paid millions of pounds to settle hundreds of phone-hacking cases, will seek to dismiss claims by Prince Harry and British actor Hugh Grant against the Sun during this week’s three-day preliminary hearing. The publisher argues that the claimants should have taken action earlier.

Prince Harry is pursuing four cases at the High Court in London against British newspapers he accuses of invading his or his wife’s privacy through illegal means or publishing falsehoods about them.

His lawsuit against NGN could be particularly troublesome for Murdoch’s UK newspaper group. In 2012, the company issued an unreserved apology for the extensive hacking carried out by News of the World journalists, leading Murdoch to close the paper amid public outcry.

However, NGN has consistently denied any illegal activity at the Sun, which was previously edited by Rebekah Brooks, now CEO of Murdoch’s UK division, News UK. Brooks has consistently denied knowledge of phone hacking and was acquitted of involvement in a 2014 criminal trial.

NGN’s spokesperson stated, “The Sun does not accept liability or make any admissions to the allegations.” They added, “As we reach the tail end of litigation, NGN is drawing a line under disputed matters, some of which date back more than 20 years ago.”

Last week, Murdoch’s Fox Corp. settled a US defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million, but that sum is reportedly dwarfed by the British phone-hacking scandal’s costs. In 2021, the Press Gazette estimated that phone-hacking had cost NGN over £1 billion ($1.24 billion), and the group acknowledged in its accounts last year that it might need to spend an additional £100 million.

During the trial against Brooks and others, the News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman testified that he had hacked the voicemails of Harry, his elder brother Prince William (now heir to the throne), and William’s wife Kate in the mid-2000s.

The court heard that Kate’s phone had been hacked 155 times, William’s 35 times, and Harry’s nine times.

Prince Harry is also suing Associated Newspapers for libel, with a decision on whether he can win the case without a trial expected shortly.

Emily Brown
Emily Brown graduated with a BA Hons in the English Language in the Media from Lancaster University before going on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems. She joined Medialinker in 2022 and now works as a Senior Journalist covering breaking news, trending stories, and longer-form features with a focus on human interest stories.

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