Prince Harry Reaches Settlement in Phone Hacking Case

Prince Harry Receives $500K Settlement in Phone Hacking Lawsuit

Prince Harry has been awarded an additional sum.

Five years after the Duke of Sussex sued Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for alleged phone hacking over a 15-year span in the 1990s and 2000s, the company has been ordered to pay Harry an additional sum. 

Harry's attorney David Sherborne announced during a Feb. 9 hearing that MGN and the prince had reached a settlement that would see the publisher covering his legal costs and damages as well as an interim payment of 400,000 pounds ($505,000) for invading his privacy with phone hacking and other illegal snooping, per NBC News.

"After our victory in December," he said in a statement on Harry's behalf outside the court room which was shared with E! News. "Mirror Group have finally conceded the rest of my claim. Everything we said was happening at Mirror Group was in fact happening, and indeed far worse as the Court ruled in its extremely damaging judgement."

The prince's statement continued, "As the judge has said this morning, we have uncovered and proved the shockingly dishonest way the Mirror Group acted for many years and then sought to conceal the truth."

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In regards to the settlement, MGN—which publishes tabloids such as The Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror—said in a statement obtained by NBC News that it was "pleased to have reached this agreement, which gives our business further clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago and for which we have apologized."

E! News has reached out to MGN for comment but has not yet heard back.

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Harry had previously been awarded $177,000 in damages in December after a judge found that phone hacking was "widespread and habitual" at MGN throughout the ‘90s and aughts and that company executives covered up the practice. At the time, Judge Timothy Fancourt found that Harry's phone was hacked "to a modest extent," per NBC News.

During the December ruling, the judge found that 15 of the 33 articles Harry had submitted as part of his 2019 lawsuit had been based on unlawful information gathering. However as the case progressed, an additional 115 articles published between 1996 and 2010 were added to Harry's claim and could have been the subject of a further trial had the royal not reached a settlement with MGN.

Back in May, Harry received an apology from the company in a statement that admitted to a single instance of unlawfully gathering information.

"MGN unreservedly apologises for all such instances of UIG," the British publisher's statement—written in a court filing at the start of the trial May 10—read, "and assures the claimants that such conduct will never be repeated."

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A month after Harry received his apology, he took to the stand in London's High Court—becoming the first senior British royal to testify in a court of law in more than a century. During his June. 7 testimony, among the many claims he alleged against the British tabloids, were that he believed the press to be in part responsible for his breakup with then-girlfriend Chelsea Davy and that prior to her 1997 death, his mother Princess Diana believed her private messages were being listened to.

In his 55-page witness statement, published in full by The New York Times, Harry wrote that he "genuinely feels that in every relationship that I've ever had—be that with friends, girlfriends, with family or with the army, there's always been a third party involved, namely the tabloid press."

However, with this latest victory, the prince is expressing optimism that the tide is continuing to turn.

"As I said back in December, our mission continues," Harry's Feb. 9 statement concluded. "I believe in the positive change it will bring for all of us. It is the very reason why I started this, and why I will continue to see it through to the end."

NBC News and E! News are both part of NBCUniversal.

For more of this year's royal news from around the world, keep reading. 

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