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Prince Harry Withdraws Libel Claim Against U.K. Newspaper Publisher

The Duke of Sussex's case surrounded a 2022 article for the 'Mail on Sunday' regarding his security in his home country

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty</p> Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 30, 2023.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 30, 2023.

Prince Harry has withdrawn his libel case against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, one of three lawsuits he was pursuing against major media publishers in the U.K.

On Friday, the Daily Mail reported that the Duke of Sussex’s lawyers alerted the newspaper they had filed a notice with the court on the deadline day for relevant documents.

“The Duke of Sussex discontinues all of this claim,” said the message shared at 10:06 a.m. local time.

King Charles’ son, 39, had been pursuing a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday over an article published in February 2022 that alleged he tried to keep the details of his legal fight to reinstate his police protection in the U.K. secret and that his aides had then tried to put a positive spin on it.

In July 2022, the High Court ruled on the meaning of the article and said parts of it were defamatory, advancing the case.

<p>ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images</p> Prince Harry arrives at court in June 2023

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Prince Harry arrives at court in June 2023

Related: Prince Harry's Lawsuits Against U.K. Tabloids: Everything to Know About His 4 Court Cases

In December 2023, it emerged that Prince Harry might be called to give evidence in London court after losing an attempt to have the Mail on Sunday's defense of his libel lawsuit thrown out. Justice Nicklin said in his judgment that the Duke of Sussex’s lawsuit against ANL over the 2022 article should proceed to trial.

PEOPLE understands Prince Harry is focused on hearing the final decision as to whether the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC) acted lawfully concerning his security as well as the safety of his family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle relocated to the Duchess of Sussex's home state of California with their son Prince Archie, 4, in 2020. Their daughter Princess Lilibet, 2, was born there in 2021. The Duke of Sussex's legal team has previously stated that he "does not feel safe" bringing his two children to the U.K.

"It was with great sadness to both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020," Prince Harry said in a statement released in December. "The U.K. is my home. The U.K. is central to the heritage of my children and a place I want them to feel at home as much as where they live at the moment in the United States. That cannot happen if there is no possibility to keep them safe when they are on U.K. soil."

He continued, "I can't put my wife in danger like that, and given my experiences in life, I'm reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm's way too."

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<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend the Platinum Jubilee in the U.K. in June 2022

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend the Platinum Jubilee in the U.K. in June 2022

Prince Harry was involved in several recent court cases against newspaper publishers in the U.K.

The Duke of Sussex previously sued ANL for libel over two articles published by the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online in October 2020, alleging he had not been in contact with the Royal Marines since stepping back from his royal role. Prince Harry won and planned to donate the damages to the Invictus Games Foundation, the BBC reported in February 2021.

On Dec. 15, Prince Harry emerged victorious in his lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over allegations of phone hacking and other unlawful acts. The Duke of Sussex was not in court for the ruling "due to the short notice which was given of this hearing," according to his lawyer. He was believed to have watched via a video feed from California.

The Duke of Sussex's lawyer David Sherbourne read a statement outside court on behalf of his client, who described the decision as "vindicating and affirming."

“Today is a great day for truth as well as accountability," Prince Harry said. "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.”

Related: Prince Harry Hits the Gym in Santa Barbara the Day Before Kate Middleton and King Charles' Surgery News

For the case, Prince Harry made history as the first prominent member of the British royal family to give evidence in court in 130 years when he took the stand against the newspaper group. The last royal to do so was King Edward VII, who testified as a witness in a divorce case in 1870 and again in a slander trial over a card game in 1890 before becoming monarch.

He is currently involved in other lawsuits against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, over alleged invasions of privacy from the mid-1990s until 2016 and ANL for alleged illegal information gathering.

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