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Prince Harry Gets Damages in Hacking Case and Calls Out Piers Morgan

Prince Harry has settled his privacy claims against a British tabloid publisher, his lawyer told a London court on Friday, two months after a judge found the publisher guilty of “widespread and habitual” hacking of the prince’s cellphone.

The settlement with Mirror Group Newspapers — which his lawyer said would amount to at least 400,000 pounds, or $504,000 — brings to an end one battle in Harry’s long-running war against the press over its intrusive coverage of his private life.

It was as much a financial victory as a symbolic one, which could help defray the legal costs that Harry has run up in years of litigation against the tabloids. In addition to paying for the costs of the case, the Mirror Group would pay additional “significant” damages, the prince’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said.

“We have uncovered and proved the shockingly dishonest way in which the Mirror acted for so many years,” Harry said in a statement read by Mr. Sherborne outside the high court. Harry, who did not attend the hearing, said he would continue his “mission” of exposing what he called the corrupt practices of the tabloids.

At issue in this case was whether the Mirror Group, which owns The Daily Mirror and other tabloid publications, had engaged in unlawful behavior, including phone hacking and other deceitful techniques, to unearth personal information about Harry and the other plaintiffs, who include British television actors.

In December, the judge, Timothy Fancourt, awarded the prince 140,600 pounds, or nearly $180,000, after finding that Harry had been a victim of hacking. He left the door open to a further settlement, since that ruling was based on only 15 articles, a fraction of the material submitted by Harry’s lawyers.

The lawyers submitted another 115 articles as evidence of unlawful conduct, which could have necessitated two more expensive trials. By agreeing to a settlement at this stage, legal experts said, the Mirror Group is attempting to cap its financial liability since it faces other potential hacking-related lawsuits.

A spokesman for the publisher said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which gives our business further clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago and for which we have apologized.”

In his statement, Harry singled out Piers Morgan, a prominent TV personality and a former editor of The Daily Mirror, saying Mr. Morgan “knew perfectly well what was going on.” Mr. Morgan’s “contempt for the court’s ruling and his continued attacks ever since demonstrate why it was so important to obtain a clear and detailed judgment,” Harry said.

Justice Fancourt said there was evidence that Mr. Morgan was aware of hacking while at The Mirror.

Mr. Morgan, who has been a vocal critic of Harry and his wife, Meghan, has long denied involvement in hacking.

In a post on social media on Friday afternoon, Mr. Morgan wrote: “I totally agree with Prince Harry that ruthless intrusion into the private lives of the Royal Family for financial gain is utterly reprehensible… and I hope he stops doing it.”

Daniel Taylor, a media lawyer at the London firm Taylor Hampton, who represented one of the other plaintiffs in the case, Fiona Wightman, said: “The judge has again today heavily criticized Mirror Group Newspapers for their conduct of this suit and awarded costs at the most punitive level.”

The settlement came at the end of an anxious, hectic week for Harry, the 39-year-old younger son of King Charles III. On Monday, shortly after Buckingham Palace disclosed that the king had been diagnosed with cancer and would halt his public engagements, Harry flew from Los Angeles to London to visit his father.

The two met for less than an hour at the king’s London residence, Clarence House, and Harry returned almost immediately to the United States. On Thursday evening, he turned up at a National Football League awards ceremony in Las Vegas, handing out a prize to a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cameron Heyward.

In a lighthearted speech that drew chuckles from the audience, Harry did not mention his father’s illness. He said of American football that the United States “stole rugby from us and you made it your own.”

Harry’s case against the Mirror Group is one of several privacy lawsuits against tabloid publishers. He is also suing Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, and he is part of suit that includes the pop star Elton John against Associated Newspapers, which publishers The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday. These cases also involved allegations of phone hacking.

Last month, Harry withdrew a libel suit against the publisher of The Mail on Sunday over an article about his security arrangements after he and Meghan split with the royal family, moving to the United States in 2020.

Harry’s decision to go to trial against the publishers was unusual for a member of the royal family, which usually resolves these disputes through private negotiations or settlements. His older brother, William, settled a privacy claim against News Group Newspapers for a comparable sum of money.

Last June, Harry became the first senior member of the family to take the stand in court since 1891, when Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, testified in a case about wrongdoing during a game of baccarat at which he was present.

In his sometimes raw testimony, Harry said the stream of negative stories about him and members of his family had led him to distrust even his closest friends. Many stories had focused on Harry’s relationship with a former girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, who he said had found a tracking device on her car.

Another article included details about an episode in which he broke his thumb at school. “Not only do I have no idea how they would know that,” Harry testified, “but these sorts of things instill paranoia in a young man.”

Editors and reporters, he said, “have blood on their hands” because of the lengths to which they went to dig out news about him and his family.

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