Britain’s Prince William has settled for a “massive sum” after a secret deal with Buckingham Palace against Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper department for phone hacking, lawyers for the heir’s brother Prince Harry have said.
Harry, the youngest son of King Charles, is suing Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN) in the High Court in London over multiple unlawful acts allegedly committed on behalf of the tabloids, the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, from the middle of the… 1990 to 2016.
In preliminary hearings this week, NGN, which has paid out millions of pounds to settle more than a thousand phone hacking cases, is seeking to scrap claims from the prince and British actor Hugh Grant, arguing they should have acted sooner.
It also denies that anyone from the sun was involved in any unlawful activity.
In a statement to the court, Harry’s legal team said the reason he had not filed a lawsuit earlier was because a deal had been made between NGN and the “institution” – Buckingham Palace – to defer any claims until the conclusion of other open calls. hack lawsuit.
“In responding to NGN’s bid to avoid its claims going to court, the plaintiff has had to disclose the details of this secret agreement, as well as the fact that his brother, His Royal Highness, Prince William, recently behind the scenes claim against NGN,” his lawyers said.
In a witness statement, Harry said NGN settled William’s claim “for a huge sum of money in 2020… without anyone on the public knowing, and seemingly with a favorable deal in return for him ‘quietly’ go so to speak”.
Prince William’s office said it could not comment on pending legal proceedings and NGN had no comment.
During a criminal trial against journalists from the News of the World and others in 2014, former royal editor Clive Goodman said in the mid-2000s that he had hacked into Harry’s voicemails and those of William and William’s wife Kate.
Her phone has been hacked 155 times, William’s 35 times and Harry’s nine times.
In his 31-page statement, Harry railed against senior NGN figures and his own family, accusing them of colluding with the press to protect their image. witness stand.
Buckingham Palace “wanted at all costs” to avoid the reputational damage caused by the publication in the 1990s of details of an “intimate telephone conversation” between Charles and the now Queen Consort Camilla, when his father was still married to his mother Princess Diana, his statement said.
The support of the Queen
His grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth, had given her support in 2017 to continue his case and seek excuses from Rupert Murdoch himself, Harry, who is currently involved in four cases, told British newspapers.
But despite the Queen’s intervention, he said the palace’s lawyer had told him a year later “there was nothing that could be done, as NGN was unable at that stage to apologize to Her Majesty the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family”.
According to him, NGN’s lawyer, Anthony Hudson, denied that there was a “secret agreement” between the publisher and the royal family. He argued that even if there was a deal, it wouldn’t affect their case that the lawsuit was filed too late.
Harry, who now lives in California, was not in court but would watch the proceedings via video link, his attorney David Sherborne said.
In 2012, Murdoch’s British newspaper group issued an unqualified apology for widespread hacking by journalists at the News of the World, which the media mogul had shut down over a backlash.
But it has always rejected any illegal activity at the Sun, previously edited by Rebekah Brooks, now CEO of its UK arm, News UK. She has always denied knowing about phone hacking and was found not guilty in the 2014 trial of involvement.
Harry said in his statement that he was “absolutely amazed” by this. His anger at his wife’s treatment meant he had tried to keep the press away from his glitzy wedding to Meghan in 2018, but his father’s office had been of no help.
“They had a specific long-term strategy to keep the media (including NGN) on the sidelines to pave the way for my stepmother (and father) to be accepted by the British public as queen consort (and king respectively) when the time came,” Harry wrote.
Anything that could “upset the applecar,” including claims of phone hacking, should be avoided at all costs, he said.
The case is one of four lawsuits Harry is taking against British newspapers.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)