Prince Harry‘s feud with the royal family goes beyond some family quarrels with his father and brother, Prince William, as some media like to suggest. As he’s been saying for the past years, the core of the issues comes from the treatment the press has over the royal family’s private life and an alleged deal the institution has with some media outlets. He delved into the subject in his memoir Spare, arguing that the Crown failed to act against the constant negative stories about him on tabloids.
Harry is currently in a legal process against News Group Newspapers, and one piece of evidence his legal team has just made public is a settlement paid to Prince William from Rupert Murdoch’s group that includes outlets like The Sun, one of Harry’s main detractors. The document doesn’t disclose the exact amount of money paid to the Prince of Wales, but it does say it’s a “large sum” paid in 2020. But what exactly did News Group Newspapers, pay for?
The Alleged Settlement Between the Press and the Royal Family
First, we have to talk about the lawsuit, in which Harry claims NGN has illegally intercepted his voicemails for years to gain information for the press. According to Harry’s team, there has been a ‘secret’ deal between Murdoch’s group and Buckingham Palace not to bring legal action against the papers.
Prince Harry also claims that he became aware of this deal back in 2012 when he was trying to sue the group for a set of tabloids against him. Together with his brother, Prince William, they attempted to proceed legally against Murdoch’s group but when they tried to consult the Royal legal team, they were turned down saying that they weren’t able to start legal action on that matter.
Why? Prince Harry believes, that although the deal was mainly to protect the Royal Family from having to testify in court and give details of embarrassing or private matters, it has more to do with a scandal that took place decades ago… the infamous ‘Tampongate.’ The Duke of Sussex added that the Institution was “incredibly nervous” about having to go through such a damaging event as the leaked intimate phone call between King Charles and Camilla while the former was still married to Princess Diana.
The agreement between Buckingham Palace and NGN included an understanding that the media group would eventually issue a public apology to the princes, which never happened. When he told the Palace that he was going to take legal action against several media outlets because they hadn’t fulfilled that part of the agreement he was told not to. Now, it’s known that Prince William made an individual settlement for that matter while Harry has been left alone to fight the press.
“It is important to bear in mind that in responding to this bid by NGN to prevent his claims from going to trial, the claimant has had to make public the details of this secret agreement, as well as the fact that his brother, His Royal Highness, Prince William, has recently settled his claim against NGN behind the scenes,” the court filings said.
Kensington Palace, on behalf of Prince William, and Buckingham Palace, on behalf of King Charles III, declined to comment on the matter, although NGN has denied the accusations. Also, Harry’s legal team has declared that the late Queen Elizabeth was aware of Prince Harry’s intention to sue these outlets and even gave him her blessings and permission. However, King Charles undermined his mother’s and son’s will to proceed claiming he had plans for a long-term strategy to have the press on his side. Something, it’s been clear due to his popularity issues, he so much needs.