London: Prince Harry has settled a privacy and data protection lawsuit against a news agency that hovered over his home in a helicopter and took photos directly into his living room and bedroom, forcing he and his wife Meghan to move out.
Harry accepted substantial damages and legal costs, and an apology from Splash News and Picture Agency. The figure was not disclosed.
In a statement read at High Court in London on behalf of the Duke of Sussex, his lawyer Gerrard Tyrrell said the rural retreat in Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, southern England was chosen because of "the high level of privacy it afforded," but that now he and his wife Meghan felt"they are no longer able to live at the property."
It said that in January, Splash chartered a helicopter that flew over the home at a low altitude, and photos it took were published by several media outlets.
The agency pledged to "cease and desist from selling, issuing, publishing or making available the photographs." Splash also promised to "not repeat its conduct by using any aerial means to take photographs or film footage of the duke's private home."
Splash said it "recognised that this situation represents an error of judgment" and promised it would not happen again.
The royals have in the past sought to defend their privacy rights in the courts. Harry's brother William and his wife Kate sued a French gossip magazine, for example, in a case of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The couple filed a complaint after the photos were published in the magazine Closer and a regional newspaper in 2012, the year after their wedding.
Harry has complained in the past about intrusive press coverage. He and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, recently moved from central London to a more secluded home, Frogmore Cottage, near Windsor Castle some 40 kilometres west of London.