Media giant Rupert Murdoch’s company paid Prince William a substantial sum to discreetly settle phone hacking allegations.
Recently unveiled court documents have shed light on a covert transaction between Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and Prince William, in which the prince reportedly received an undisclosed payment in 2020. This payment followed legal action taken by Prince William against the owner of the Sun and News of the World.
The details of this settlement came out through legal filings submitted by Prince Harry, who is currently embroiled in his own legal battle against the publisher. Prince Harry confirmed that his pursuit of an apology from Murdoch’s company regarding phone hacking had received the endorsement of his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince Harry said that a secret agreement had been reached between the royal family and senior executives at Murdoch’s company before 2012. According to this agreement, the princes agreed to postpone legal action against the newspaper conglomerate in exchange for a later apology.
The motivation behind this agreement stemmed from the desire to avoid a recurrence of the damaging media frenzy caused by the “Tampongate” incident. This incident involved leaked recordings of Prince Charles and Camilla’s private conversation during their affair in the 1980s, which several outlets published.
Prince Harry alleged that News UK failed to fulfill its end of the secret agreement when he pursued the long-awaited apology in 2017. As a result, Prince Harry initiated legal proceedings against the publisher, accusing it of engaging in extensive illegal activities against him, including voicemail hacking and the unlawful acquisition of personal information disguised as journalism. Many of Prince Harry’s allegations relate to illicit conduct during Rebekah Brooks’ tenure as editor of the Sun during the 2000s. News Group Newspapers has categorically denied the existence of any secret agreement.
In light of the recent $700 million settlement of a defamation case against Fox News, part of Murdoch’s media empire, the company is trying to avoid Prince Harry’s case from proceeding to trial.
The revelation of a private settlement between Murdoch’s company and Prince William further supports Prince Harry’s claim of secret agreements between the royal family and the media conglomerate. However, no specific details about Prince William’s allegations have been disclosed.
Buckingham Palace has refrained from commenting on ongoing legal proceedings.