LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William has settled a phone hacking claim against Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper in 2020 for a “very large sum” after a secret settlement reached with Buckingham Palace, reports lawyers for the heir’s brother, Prince Harry, said in court documents.
Harry, the youngest son of King Charles, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) in the High Court in London over multiple unlawful acts allegedly committed in the name of his Sun and now defunct mid-19s News of the World tabloid 1990 until 2016.
He accuses those who act for the newspapers of phone hacking and obtaining private information about him by deception, including obtaining his wife Meghan’s social security number.
NGN, which paid out millions after a number of News of the World reporters were jailed for phone hacking that led Murdoch to shut it down, is seeking to have its complaint dismissed, arguing it should have filed it sooner .
He also denies that anyone at the Sun was involved in any illegal activity.
In a statement on his behalf, Harry’s legal team said an agreement had been reached between NGN and ‘the institution’ – Buckingham Palace – to stay any claims until further phone hacking litigation pending be resolved.
“It is important to bear in mind that in responding to this offer by NGN to keep his claims from being tried, the claimant had to make public the details of this secret agreement, as well as the fact that his brother, His Royal Highness Prince William recently settled his complaint against NGN behind the scenes,” the document reads.
He said NGN had settled with William “for a very large sum of money in 2020”.
The document quoted Harry’s witness statement in which the prince said the deal was made to ‘avoid the situation where a member of the Royal Family would have to sit in the witness box and recount the specific details of the messages. private and very sensitive voices that had been intercepted”.
Harry said Buckingham Palace “wanted at all costs” to avoid reputational damage caused by the publication in the 1990s of details of an “intimate telephone conversation” between Charles and current Queen Consort Camilla, when his father was still married to his mother Princess Diana.
As part of a timeline detailing an exchange of letters between the Palace and NGN, the document said Harry’s grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth, had been involved in discussions and in 2017 gave him permission to continue his business.
Reporting by Michael Holden and Sam Tobin, editing by Paul Sandle, Alexandra Hudson
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