Prince William, the heir to the British throne, quietly received “a very large sum of money” in a 2020 settlement with the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire for phone hacking, according to court documents aired Tuesday in one of his brother’s lawsuits.
Prince Harry’s lawyer made the revelation in a summary of arguments about why Harry’s lawsuit against the publisher of The Sun and now-defunct News Of The World should not be thrown out. The suit alleges the newspapers unlawfully gathered information in a scandal dating back two decades.
News Group Newspapers, which Murdoch owns, argued that a High Court judge should throw out phone hacking lawsuits by the prince and actor Hugh Grant because the claims were brought too late.
But Harry, the Duke of Sussex, said he was prevented from bringing his case because of a secret agreement between the royal family and the newspapers that called for a settlement and apology. The deal, which the prince said was authorized by the late Queen Elizabeth II, would have prevented future litigation from the royals.
Harry began pushing for a resolution in 2017 but said he “had enough” after the publisher “filibustered.” He filed suit in 2019.
The papers said William, Prince of Wales, later settled for a large, but undisclosed sum.
“It is important to bear in mind that in responding to this bid by NGN to prevent his claims going to trial, (Harry) has had to make public the details of this secret agreement, as well as the fact that his brother, His Royal Highness Prince William, has recently settled his claim against NGN behind the scenes,” attorney David Sherborne wrote. “This is used very much by (Harry) as ‘a shield not a sword’ against NGN’s attack.”
The lawsuit is one of several that Harry has brought against British newspapers, including two other phone hacking cases.
When contacted by NBC News, a spokesperson for News UK — the trading name for News Group Newspapers — declined to immediately comment. NBC News has also reached out to Buckingham Palace.