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Prince Harry ordered to pay Mail on Sunday nearly £50,000 after losing attempt to strike out part of paper's defence in libel case

Prince Harry has been ordered to pay the Mail on Sunday more than £48,000 after he lost his attempt to strike out part of the paper's defence in a libel case.

The Duke of Sussex is suing the newspaper's publishers, Associated Newspapers, over an article written about his fight with the Home Office concerning his security arrangements.

Associated Newspapers argue the article expressed an "honest opinion" and did not cause "serious harm" to Harry's reputation.

The duke had tried to have the "honest opinion" defence thrown out, but in a judgement on Friday a High Court judge decided it could be included, and the case should go to trial.

The judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, ruled the publisher had a "real prospect" of arguing its case.

As a result, the Duke of Sussex has been ordered to pay the newspaper's costs of £48,447 by 29 December.

The original article, which was published in 2022, wrote about Harry's dispute with the Home Office decision to remove his automatic police protection after he stepped down from the working Royal Family.

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The newspaper headline said, "How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over bodyguards a secret … then - just minutes after the story broke - his PR machine tried to put positive spin on the dispute."

The Duke of Sussex believes this is libellous, as it attacked "his honesty and integrity", his lawyers argue it is inaccurate, and suggest he had "lied" and "cynically" attempted to mislead public opinion.

If a settlement isn't reached by both parties, the libel trial will be held between May and July next year.