Prince Harry wearing green beret
Prince Harry

Prince Harry Accepts 'Substantial' Damages After 'Baseless' Allegations

The Duke of Sussex is donating his damages to the Invictus Games Foundation.

Prince Harry wearing green beret

Prince Harry has accepted an apology and "substantial damages" from the publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, following "baseless, false and defamatory" claims he snubbed the Royal Marines.

The Duke of Sussex sued Associated Newspapers for libel over two "almost identical" articles published in October 2020, which made accusations against him after he stepped back as a senior royal.

The articles said Harry had "not been in touch... since his last appearance as an honorary Marine in March", and "exasperated top brass" were considering replacing Harry as Captain General Royal Marines.

High Court documents claim the Duke's reputation suffered "huge damage" as a result of the allegations, as well as his ability to help veterans and serving military by attracting public support being "seriously" hampered.

The articles also included "untrue" allegations that Harry had not responded to a personal letter from Lord Dannatt, a former head of the British Army.

Jenny Afia, representing Prince Harry, said the accusations "constituted not only a personal attack upon the Duke’s character but also wrongly brought into question his service to this country".

"All of these allegations are false, as the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline have now accepted, albeit after considerable damage was already done," she continued.

Ms Afia said Prince Harry was donating his damages to the Invictus Games Foundation "so he could feel something good had come out of the situation".

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle 2017 Invictus Games
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their first public appearance as a couple together at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

She said the Duke's commitment to the Armed Forces community is "steadfast and unquestionable", adding Prince Harry made "repeated and concerted efforts" to support the Royal Marines and military community.

Ms Afia added that the allegations "unfairly" tarnished and diminished organisations associated with Prince Harry, "and thereby hinder the valuable work they do".

The Mail On Sunday printed an apology on 27 December, acknowledging Prince Harry had been in touch with the Royal Marines.

Ms Afia said the apology "used wording which significantly underplayed the seriousness of the accusations made against him".

Prince Harry served in the Army for ten years, including two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan.

He was appointed Captain General Royal Marines in December 2017, succeeding his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in the role.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as senior royals last year, with Prince Harry stepping back from some of his military appointments during the "year of transition" while taking a reduced role as a member of the royal family.

Cover image: MOD.