Prince Harry Case Against U.K. Publisher Thrown Out, Judge Slams Phone-Hacking Claim

Prince Harry
KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP via Getty Images

Prince Harry’s case against the U.K. publisher for The Sun was thrown out on Thursday by a judge who slammed the royal’s phone-hacking claim as implausible, with the outlet’s publisher calling it a “significant victory.”

Justice Timothy Fancourt’s ruling found that the Duke of Sussex’s claim had “not reached the necessary threshold of plausibility and cogency,” the Daily Mail reported.

The judge dismissed the member of the royal family’s claim that there was a “secret agreement” between the press and Buckingham Palace, calling the alleged arrangement implausible.

Despite the case being thrown out, the judge did leave open the door for the prince to sue the publisher for other alleged illegal activities that helped it gain information about the duke and members of the royal family, Page Six noted.

A trial is set to take place next January to deal with these matters, unless some kind of settlement is reached before that.

In 2019, the royal filed a lawsuit against the now-defunct News of the World, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror, claiming his phone and those of his friends had been hacked, allowing the former outlet access to his voicemails between 1996 and 2011.

The U.K. publisher News Group Newspapers argued that Harry was too late because, by law, claimants have six years to start legal action once they learn of alleged illegal activity. The judge agreed with the publisher and said the duke was aware of the possible hacking by September 2013.


“Time therefore expired,” Fancourt said.

The prince tried to explain that his delay in filing the suit was because there was an alleged “secret agreement” between senior courtiers at Buckingham Palace and newspaper executives.

However, Fancourt agreed with The Sun’s KC Anthony Hudson, who told the court earlier that this was “Alice in Wonderland stuff” and that there was never any such “secret agreement.” Fancourt said there was no witness or documentary evidence to support what the Duke claimed.

After the ruling, News Group Newspapers (NGN) called the The High Court’s decision “a significant victory.”

“The Judge, Mr. Justice Fancourt, found his claims in relation to the alleged ‘secret agreement’ were not plausible or credible,” the statement read. “It is quite clear there was never any such agreement and it is only the Duke who has ever asserted there was.”

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