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British prince launches legal action against newspapers

By Du Xiaoying in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-07 03:24

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex. [Photo/Agencies]

The duke of Sussex has begun legal action against Mirror Group Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mirror, and News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun and the defunct News of the World, over phone-hacking claims, several media outlets have reported.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that documents have been filed on behalf of Prince Harry over the alleged illegal interception of his voicemail messages. But a palace spokesman said he could not give further details at this stage.

The reports come only days after Harry's wife, Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, announced she was suing the Mail on Sunday over the alleged publication of extracts from a letter that the paper says was written by her and addressed to her father.

The duke issued a statement condemning what he called "relentless propaganda" and "bullying" behavior that "destroys people and destroys lives".

The Telegraph said Geordie Greig, editor of the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday's sister paper, had said: "I think Meghan gets a bad press because, if you get into a lecturing position and you don't be seen to do what you're saying, that is a problem."

The legal claims could result in both the duke and the duchess appearing in the witness box, something a senior member of the royal family has not done for more than a century.

David Sherborne, a barrister who specializes in cases related to privacy, confidentiality, and defamation, is reported to be representing both the duke and duchess. His former clients include Diana, the princess of Wales, and the actor Hugh Grant.

A spokesman for News Group Newspapers said: "We confirm that a claim has been issued by the duke of Sussex. We have no further comment to make at the current time."

The Press Association reported that a source close to the Mirror newspaper said the publication was aware proceedings had been started against it but that official notification had not yet been received.

According to Jonny Dymond, the BBC's royal correspondent, the presumption is that the legal action may be connected to the phone-hacking scandal of the early 2000s. The BBC said the duke's allegations against News Group Newspapers appear to be about issues that predate 2010, but it is not yet clear when his claims against the Mirror date from.

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