LONDON (Reuters) – Prince William filed a phone hacking suit against the British arm of Rupert Murdoch newspaper in 2020 for a “very large sum” after striking a secret deal with Buckingham Palace, lawyers for Prince Harry’s brother said in London. Court documents.
Harry, the younger son of King Charles, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) in the High Court in London over multiple illegal acts allegedly committed on behalf of the Sun, now defunct News of the World newspapers from the mid-1990s until 2016.
He accuses those acting on papers of hacking into the phone and obtaining private information on him with deception, including obtaining his wife Megan’s social security number.
NGN, which paid millions after several News of the World journalists were jailed for phone hacking charges that led to Murdoch shutting it down, is seeking to dismiss his claim, arguing it should have made it sooner.
He also denies that anyone from The Sun was involved in any illegal activity.
In a report on his behalf, Harry’s legal team said a deal had been agreed between NGN and “the Institution” – Buckingham Palace – to hold off on any claims until other pending phone hacking suits are settled.
“It is important to bear in mind that in response to this NGN attempt to prevent its claims from being prosecuted, the Claimant was required to make public the details of this confidentiality agreement, as well as the fact that his brother, His Royal Highness Prince William, had recently settled his claim against NGN behind the scenes.”
She said NGN has settled with William “for a very large amount of money in 2020”.
The document quoted Harry’s witness statement in which the prince said the deal was made “to avoid a situation where a member of the royal family would have to sit in the witness box and recount the specific details of very private and sensitive voicemails that had been intercepted.”
Harry said Buckingham Palace “wanted to avoid at all costs” the reputational damage caused by the publication of details of an “intimate telephone conversation” between Charles and Queen Camilla now, when his father was still married to his mother, Princess Diana. .
As part of a chronology detailing the exchange of messages between the palace and NGN, the document said Harry’s grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth, was involved in the discussions and in 2017 allowed him to pursue his case.
(Reporting by Michael Holden and Sam Tobin; Editing by Paul Sandel and Alexandra Hudson)
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