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As Prince Harry wins "modest" damages in U.K. phone hacking case, here's a look at his legal battles

Prince Harry cross-examination wraps
Prince Harry cross-examination wraps in British tabloid trial 04:45

London — A judge at the London High Court awarded Prince Harry 140,600 pounds (about $180,000) in damages Friday after ruling that the Duke of Sussex had been the victim of phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror tabloid.

This case isn't the only legal action Harry is currently involved in against Britain's tabloid press, however. Here are the legal battles King Charles III's second son is taking part in:

News Group Newspapers

Prince Harry launched legal proceedings against News Group Newspapers (NGN), which publishes The Sun and used to publish the now-defunct News of the World, in September 2019, accusing its journalists of unlawfully hacking his voicemails.

NGN, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch,  had argued the claims were brought too late and should be thrown out under the U.K.'s six-year statute of limitations, but Harry argued the delay was due to a secret agreement between the publisher and the royal family, which NGN has denied the existence of.

The Duke of Sussex alleged that staff of the NGN papers had hacked his phone and used investigators and deception to unlawfully gather information on him dating back two decades.

On Thursday, London High Court Justice Timothy Fancourt ruled in favor of NGN, accepting that Harry was well aware of the phone hacking scandal years ago and could have brought his case sooner, but saying he would allow the prince to proceed with the case on claims about other unlawful actions, including the newspapers' using private investigators to snoop on him.

Mirror Group Newspapers

Prince Harry testified in June in the same London court as part of a case against the publisher Mirror Group Newspapers, claiming voicemail hacking and other illegal information gathering activities. It was the first time a senior member of Britain's royal family had offered court testimony since the 19th century.

The presiding judge, Fancourt, said in a statement Friday that he had found only 15 of the 33 articles that were scrutinized in the case were the product of phone hacking or other illegal information gathering. He awarded Harry a "modest" sum, equivalent to about $180,000, in damages, as the case had shown the Mirror Group "only played a small part in everything that the Duke suffered" and "was not responsible for all the unlawful activity that was directed at the Duke, and that a good deal of the oppressive behavior of the Press towards the Duke over the years was not unlawful at all."

"I consider that his phone was only hacked to a modest extent, and that this was probably carefully controlled by certain people at each newspaper," the judge said. "There was a tendency for the Duke in his evidence to assume that everything published was the product of voicemail interception because phone hacking was rife within Mirror Group at the time. But phone hacking was not the only journalistic tool at the time, and his claims in relation to the other 18 articles did not stand up to careful analysis."

The civil suit that saw Prince Harry take the stand involved cases from Harry and three other well-known British claimants. It alleged that journalists working for Mirror Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mirror tabloid, gathered information about the prince unlawfully, including by hacking into voicemails.

A spokesperson for Mirror Group Newspapers said the company welcomed Friday's "judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.

"Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation," the statement said.

Prince Harry said he would continue bringing legal action against media organizations he believes have wronged him.

"I've been told that slaying dragons will get you burned. But in light of today's victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press — it's a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues," Harry said in a statement.

Associated Newspaper Group

Prince Harry is among several claimants — including pop star Elton John — who is accusing the publisher of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday tabloids, Associated Newspapers (ANL) of using unlawful methods to gather information about them, including tapping phone calls and impersonating people to obtain medical information.

Lawyers for Harry and the other claimants say the alleged acts took place between 1993 and 2011, but that the behavior continued as late as 2018.

ANL denies wrongdoing by its journalists and says the cases should be thrown out because of the amount time that has passed.

Separate ANL suit

Separately, Harry alone is suing ANL for libel over an article about his legal battle with the U.K. government regarding his security arrangements.

The article, published in the Daily Mail in February 2022, alleged Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government a secret.

A judge ruled the article was defamatory, and Harry is seeking a decision without a trial.

The prince also accepted an apology and damages from the same publisher over other articles two years ago in a separate libel lawsuit.

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