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Prince Harry and Piers Morgan are now engaged in a public feud, following the announcement that the prince received additional “significant” compensation in his lawsuit against the Daily Mirror’s publisher for phone hacking.
Harry hit out at Mr Morgan after he reached a settlement with Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), which will pay Harry the damages, as well as all of the costs of his claim. His barrister said this included an interim payment towards the costs of £400,000.
According to his lawyer David Sherborne, the prince stated outside of the High Court that the ex-Mirror editor was aware of the phone hacking.
He stated: “Considering this, we urge the authorities to uphold the principles of fairness and demonstrate that nobody is exempt from them. This includes Mr. Morgan, who as the editor was fully aware of the situation, as stated by the judge.”
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“His disdain for the decision of the court and his persistent criticisms thereafter highlight the significance of obtaining a precise and thorough verdict.”
However, the reporter and television host responded on X with a rebuttal, stating: “I fully support Prince Harry’s stance that exploiting the private lives of the Royal Family for monetary gain is completely unacceptable… and I urge him to cease this behavior.”
In December, a judge at the same court determined that Mr. Morgan was aware of and participated in phone hacking during his time as editor of the Daily Mirror. As a result, the duke was awarded damages of £140,600 against MGN.
Outside his residence in west London, Mr. Morgan addressed the ruling to journalists, stating: “I want to emphasize, as I have continuously stated for several years now – I have never engaged in phone hacking or instructed anyone else to do so. And there is no concrete evidence presented to support such claims.”
He claimed to have no information about the one article published during his tenure as editor of the Daily Mirror that potentially involved illegal gathering of information. He then proceeded to criticize Harry harshly, calling him “ruthless, greedy, and hypocritical” and accusing him of attempting to ruin the British monarchy.
Harry stated that his lawsuit has revealed the deceitful actions of the Daily Mirror over a significant period of time, and he considers the verdict to be highly detrimental.
The duke promised to persevere with his “mission”, confident that it will result in a “beneficial change for everyone”. This determination remains strong even as he faces ongoing legal disputes with the UK tabloid media.
The agreement was reached following a trial in June, during which the duke made history by testifying in court. The judge determined that 15 out of 33 articles were obtained through illegal means.
The articles mentioned his past romance with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, a conversation with his brother regarding a meeting with Princess Diana’s former butler, and accusations of marijuana use.
An additional 115 pieces of evidence were included in his allegation, which could have been the focus of another court case. In the previous month, Harry warned that he would seek a second trial for the remaining articles, as only a sample of 33 were chosen for the trial last year.
On Friday, Mr. Sherborne verified that MGN had proposed to resolve the case by agreeing to pay Harry a significant amount for damages and covering his legal expenses.
In the past, the court determined that phone hacking was a common and regular occurrence at MGN publications in the late 1990s and even continued to some degree during the Leveson Inquiry on press ethics in 2011.
According to the most recent decision, Mr Justice Fancourt stated that the publisher is responsible for covering the “generic” legal expenses for over 100 individuals currently participating in the lawsuit.
During a recent court session, the High Court in London was informed that the individuals who filed a lawsuit against the publisher of the Mirror were requesting a payment of £1,976,660 from MGN to cover the expenses of pursuing “generic” accusations in court.
During the month of December, the duke expressed that his legal proceedings against MGN were a significant victory for both honesty and responsibility. He also urged law enforcement to launch an investigation into the publishing company responsible for the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and The People.
Harry’s recent legal dispute with the tabloid media has taken a new turn. This follows his brief trip to the UK to visit his father, who revealed his cancer diagnosis earlier this week.
However, after travelling from the US to London within 24 hours of the news, the duke reportedly met with the King at Clarence House for less than an hour on Tuesday. He returned to his home in California the following day without having seen his estranged brother Prince William.
In the past few years, the brothers have had a well-known strained relationship due to Harry and his wife Meghan’s choice to step down as high-ranking members of the royal family in January 2020 and relocate to the United States. After the move, the couple publicly expressed numerous grievances about their supposed mistreatment by the royal family.
Harry’s lawsuit against MGN was combined with other lawsuits filed by actor Michael Turner, professionally known as Michael Le Vell and best known for his role as Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, actress Nikki Sanderson, and Fiona Wightman, the former spouse of comedian Paul Whitehouse.
Ms Sanderson and Ms Wightman’s claims were rejected by Mr Justice Fancourt due to being filed after the deadline, despite the judge acknowledging that some of their allegations were valid.
A representative from MGN stated: “We are pleased with the ruling in December, which provided the company with the necessary understanding to progress from past incidents that occurred many years ago. In cases where mistakes were made in the past, we offer our sincerest apologies, have taken complete accountability, and provided compensation.”