Queen Elizabeth knew that Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers were spying on her family and friends. The monarch was to authorize her staff to “draw the line” on the matter, according to the content of the email disclosed in the lawsuit by Prince Harry.
Harry has sued News Group Newspapers, owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, for allegedly unlawful collection of information about him. The publishing house has paid out millions of pounds in settlements with more than 1,000 people whose voicemails on their phones were hacked and tapped over the years by journalists of The Sun and the tabloid News of the World, which was closed after the matter came to light.
In 2007, Clive Goodman, then the royal correspondent for the News of the World, was convicted of illegally intercepting telephone messages royal family.
Now News Group Newspapers want Harry’s claims dismissed. The publisher believes the prince should have acted sooner.
Harry, the younger son King Charles III, in turn, claims that he did not file the suit earlier because of a “secret agreement” between the management of Murdoch’s publishing houses and representatives of Buckingham Palace, under which the legal claims of members of the royal family were to be postponed. “News Group Newspapers” denies concluding such an agreement, the Palace, in turn, did not refer to the case.
Harry’s lawyers stated that his elder brother William was reported to have quietly entered into a private settlement with the publishing house in 2020, under which he received “a very large amount”. The documents they presented do not specify the amount involved or the terms of the alleged settlement.
As Reuters is now describing, a 2017 email from Buckingham Palace forwarded to the court by Harry’s legal team and published on Thursday describes how staff at the royal court wanted, with the support of the Queen, to end the spying case.
It’s time to “draw a line” to the dispute, Sally Osman, director of communications, wrote to Robert Thomson, CEO of Murdoch’s News Corp. News Group Newspapers.
“The fact that we can have this conversation with the full knowledge of the Queen, knowing the scale and impact of hacking and surveillance of the Queen’s family, is important for the near future,” Osman wrote.
In another message, sent in early 2018, Osman described to Thompson and Rebekah Brooks, the heads of Murdoch’s UK subsidiary, of “a growing sense of frustration with the lack of response or commitment to finding a solution” to the matter.
Harry’s lawsuit is one of four cases brought by the younger son of Charles III against his family.
Main photo source: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Anadolu Agency/ABACAPRESS.COM/PAP