The Associated Newspapers apologized to Prince Harry for running "false" stories that said he turned his back on the British Armed Forces.
Prince Harry has always been proud of his love for the armed forces in his home country. After all, he was one of them for many years, and when a tabloid ran a story that a top general accused him of turning his back on the Marines, he decided to contest it. The prince has left his royal roots to live in sunnier California but he never abandoned the armed forces.
He was in the military for 10 years and was known as Capt. Harry Wales. He was part of two tours of Afghanistan: first as a forward air controller with the Household Cavalry, and later as the co-pilot of an Apache attack helicopter for the Army Air Corps, as per People.
He retired from the military in March 2015 and has been working for the cause of military rehabilitation through Invictus Games, and his patronage of Walking with The Wounded, and HeadFit, which he co-founded to support military mental fitness, since then. He also took over the role of Captain General Royal Marines from his grandfather, Prince Philip, 99, in 2017. The role was put on hold since he stepped down as a senior royal but he continues to retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader.
The Associated Newspapers, the publisher ofThe Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, were sued over claims that the prince had "turned his back" on the British Armed Forces since stepping down as a royal in March 2020. The Associated Newspapers accepted the claims that two "almost identical" articles published in October 2020 were "false."
The two stories were titled Top general accuses Harry of turning his back on the Marines and Top general accuses Prince Harry of turning his back on the Royal Marines after stepping down from ceremonial role as part of Megxit deal, as per Good Morning America.
In December 2020, the Mail on Sunday wanted to settle the issue by paying substantial damages and not repeat the allegations. They also ran a correction and apologized to the prince. Harry has accepted the apology and decided to donate the "substantial damages," the amount of which is not known, to Invictus Games Foundation, which is for wounded vets.
"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," a spokesman for the Duke of Sussex said in a statement, as per People.
His lawyer, Jenny Affia, also said that the publisher of the newspapers went back on their word to donate money to charity along with publishing an apology for the "false" stories, which appeared in The Mail on Sunday's "Corrections and Clarifications" column on December 27.
"We now understand that Harry has been in contact in a private capacity with individuals in the military including in the Royal Marines to offer informal support since March and that whilst he did not initially receive the letter from Lord Dannatt referred to in the article due to administrative issues he has since replied on becoming aware of it," the statement from the publisher read. "We apologize to Prince Harry and have made a donation to the Invictus Games Foundation."
Despite saying that they donated money to the foundation, Affia said that "they did no such thing."
"Unsurprisingly, The Mail again misled their readers in December by claiming to make a charitable donation as part of an initial apology," the statement continued. "The Duke is personally donating the significant damages recovered from this legal resolution to the Invictus Games Foundation."
Affia further added that Harry has "made repeated and concerted efforts to continue to support the Royal Marines and other members of the Armed Forces and their families over the past year, even though he was required to step back from his formal military roles in the ‘year of transition’ during which he must take a reduced role as a member of the Royal Family."