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Prince Harry donates damages from libel case to Invictus Games Foundation

The legal action was settled in a remote High Court hearing on Monday

Danielle Stacey

The Duke of Sussex has accepted an apology and "substantial damages" from the publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline over "baseless, false and defamatory" allegations that he snubbed the Royal Marines after stepping down as a senior royal.

Prince Harry sued Associated Newspapers Ltd for libel over two "almost identical" articles published in October, which claimed he had "not been in touch… since his last appearance as an honorary Marine in March".

At a remote High Court hearing on Monday, the Duke's legal team said Associated Newspapers have accepted the allegations were false, "albeit after considerable damage was already done".

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In documents filed with the court just before Christmas, his lawyers said Harry had been "personally affronted" by the articles which had "caused huge damage to his reputation".

The Duke's honorary military titles were put on hold, including his position as Captain-General of the Royal Marines, after he and wife Meghan stepped back as senior royals in March 2020.

He is not allowed to take any particular role using the titles at present, but they have not yet been handed to other members of the royal family.

They will be examined in March as part of the monarchy’s 12-month review of the Sussexes’ departure arrangements.

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The Duke with the Royal Marines in 2018

After the hearing, a spokesman for the Duke of Sussex said in a statement: "Today, the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline publicly admitted in open court that they pushed a completely false and defamatory story.

"And they've apologised for questioning the Duke of Sussex's commitment to the Royal Marines and British armed forces.

"The truth is that the Duke's commitment to the military community is unquestionable.

"Unsurprisingly, The Mail again misled their readers in December by claiming to make a charitable donation as part of an initial apology. They did no such thing.

"The Duke is personally donating the significant damages recovered from this legal resolution to the Invictus Games Foundation."

The Duchess of Sussex is currently in the middle of legal action against Associated Newspapers Ltd, suing the newspaper group over the publication of a letter she sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle, arguing it was a breach of privacy and infringed her copyright.

Meghan has applied for a summary judgment in the case, which if successful, will negate the need for a full trial in autumn.

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