Prince Harry Just Lost a Case Against the British Press Over Wildlife Photos — Will He Win the Others?

Prince Harry has been waging war against the press for years now. At first, he did battle by making cutting remarks about their tactics whenever he could. But after marrying Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Harry took his animosity to the next level.

The Duke of Sussex surprised everyone when he interrupted an overwhelmingly positive goodwill trip to Africa to announce that he was suing the popular British tabloid Mail on Sunday and their publisher Associated Newspapers for publishing a personal letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. This move was unprecedented in royal family history.

But even though Prince Harry started a war with his lawsuit, he just lost a major battle that could indicate how the other lawsuit is going to work out.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry | Jeremy Selwyn – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Mail on Sunday accused Prince Harry of publishing misleading photos

The tables turned on Prince Harry when Mail on Sunday launched a few attacks of their own after the royal shared a few wildlife photos to Instagram in April 2019. The Duke of Sussex is well known for his conservation efforts and love for Africa. These photos were meant to highlight the causes that are closest to Harry’s heart.

However, the staff at Mail on Sunday saw it differently. They published an article about the Instagram post stating that the stunning images only told part of the story. “Drugged and tethered… what Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos,” the headline read. The story was about how the rhino, lion, and elephant were presented in a misleading way since they were tranquilized and tethered but Harry never mentioned it.

The articles said Harry, “notably avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken.”

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Today is #earthday – an opportunity to learn about, celebrate and continue to safeguard our planet, our home. The above, Their Royal Highnesses in Rotorua, New Zealand. Of the 170 different species originally planted in the early 1900’s, only a handful of species, including these majestic Redwoods, remain today. Next, we invite you to scroll through a series of 8 photos taken by The Duke of Sussex©️DOS sharing his environmental POV including: Africa’s Unicorn, the rhino. These magnificent animals have survived ice ages and giant crocodiles, amongst other things! They have adapted to earth’s changing climate continually for over 30 million years. Yet here we are in 2019 where their biggest threat is us. A critical ecosystem, Botswana’s Okavango Delta sustains millions of people and an abundance of wildlife. Huge bush fires, predominantly started by humans, are altering the entire river system; the ash kills the fish as the flood comes in and the trees that don’t burn become next year’s kindling. Desert lions are critically endangered due partly to human wildlife conflict, habitat encroachment and climate change. 96% of mammals on our are either livestock or humans, meaning only 4% remaining are wild animals. Orca and Humpback whale populations are recovering in Norway thanks to the protection of their fisheries. Proof that fishing sustainably can benefit us all. Roughly 3/4 of Guyana is forested, its forests are highly diverse with 1,263 known species of wildlife and 6,409 species of plants. Many countries continue to try and deforest there for the global demand for timber. We all now know the damage plastics are causing to our oceans. Micro plastics are also ending up in our food source, creating not just environmental problems for our planet but medical problems for ourselves too. When a fenced area passes its carrying capacity for elephants, they start to encroach into farmland causing havoc for communities. Here @AfricanParksNetwork relocated 500 Elephants to another park within Malawi to reduce the pressure on human wildlife conflict and create more dispersed tourism. Every one of us can make a difference, not just today but every day. #earthday

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Prince Harry filed a complaint against the publication for the article

As expected, the Duke of Sussex was furious over the article and filed a complaint with press regulator Ipso (independent press standards organisation), saying he didn’t need to disclose that the animals in the photos were drugged and tethered because he had already mentioned they were being moved for conservation reasons. The other details were just incidental.

But unfortunately for Harry, Ipso didn’t see it the same way. They claimed there was no breach of accuracy with the article because it was, in fact, factual what Mail on Sunday was saying. There was no misleading information in the story.

“In these circumstances, the Committee did not consider that it was significantly misleading to report that the photographs posted on the complainant’s Instagram account did not quite tell the full story,” they wrote in a statement.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

What does this mean for Prince Harry’s other pending lawsuits?

This story is totally separate from the other pending lawsuits Prince Harry has against the tabloids. However, it does represent an undeniable victory for the media and proves that the duke’s accusations might not be as black and white as they appear.

Prince Harry and Meghan insist they’ve been constantly attacked ever since getting married, which eventually led to emotional turmoil and their stepping back as senior members of the royal family. But this latest setback could prove that even if Meghan and Harry believe they’ve been targets, not everyone sees it that way.

It’ll be interesting to see how the other lawsuits play out.