When he was a youngster, Prince Harry claims that tabloid publications hacked his voicemails, which left him feeling like he “couldn’t trust anybody.”
He claimed in court that since his birth, he has “experienced hostility from the press” in his complaint against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).
In more than 130 years, he is the first senior royal to testify in court.
Although MGN’s attorney expressed compassion for the duke, he insisted that none of the journalists’ activities were “illegal.”
In a dark suit and a casual appearance, Prince Harry arrived at London’s High Court on Tuesday morning. Dozens of journalists barely had time to snap their pictures before he quickly entered the structure.
MGN attorney Andrew Green KC cross-examined him in court and got more frank with his objections as the hearing went on. After a shaky start, the prince gained in self-assurance.
Mr. Green, who has years of expertise and has been dubbed a “beast in court,” developed his line of inquiry by asking in-depth questions about the sources of reports and implying that they were founded on official pronouncements or publicly available facts.
The fact that Prince Harry’s comments were frequently succinct highlighted his suspicion that each report was tied to a payment made to a private eye.
Prince Harry charged the tabloid press with fabricating a “alternative and distorted version of me” as he appeared in court in a written statement released as he did so.
Especially if you are the “spare” to the “heir,” he continued, “they then start to nudge you towards playing the role or roles that suit them best and which sells as many newspapers as possible.”
When that happens, you’re either the “playboy prince,” the “failure,” the “drop out,” or, in my case, the “thicko,” the “cheat,” the “underage drinker,” and the “irresponsible drug user.”
The duke added that rumors he thought were the result of hacking not only raised security issues but also harmed his relationships.
At such a young age, he says, “I felt that I couldn’t trust anybody, which was an awful feeling for me.”
He said that various publications had published a rumor that the former Army commander James Hewitt, with whom his mother, Princess Diana, had a relationship after he was born, was actually his biological father.
He said that he was unaware of the timeline at the time. He described such tales as “hurtful, mean, and cruel” when he was 18 years old and had lost his mother six years previously.
He also said in his statement:
- Said he felt “physically sick” at the prospect of Daily Mirror ex-editor Piers Morgan “and his band of journalists eavesdropping on my mother’s private and sensitive messages” months before her death in Paris in 1997.
- accused the media of attempting to end his relationships on numerous occasions, claiming that the “twisted objective” still exists today.
- criticized the British press and the administration for being at “rock bottom”
- said that those in authority were “turning a blind eye to it so as to ensure that it would continue unabated” and that the media were “ganging up to protect each other.”
- said that the media is “the mothership of online trolling” and that their reporting has caused deaths.
- Journalists allegedly obtained information regarding Chelsy Davy’s prior relationship unlawfully.
He makes general criticisms of the tabloid press as a whole while also making particular accusations against the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and The People publisher.
33 of the 140 articles that Harry claims were published between 1996 and 2010 and contained data obtained illegally will be taken into account in the legal dispute. The duke was addressed as “your royal highness” after being sworn in, but later requested to be called “Prince Harry.”
Mr. Green began his cross-examination by asking Prince Harry about his “hostility” toward the media, implying to the duke that this was prior to his learning that the tabloid press was gathering material about him illegally.
Prince Harry replied, “I’ve experienced hostility from the press since I was born,” and also acknowledged his own “long-standing hostility” towards the media.
Additionally, he was questioned about why he claimed in his book Spare that he met Paul Burrell, his mother’s former butler, while having stated in his witness statement that he did not want to.
“I honestly can’t remember whether I wanted a meeting or not,” he admitted.
He further asserted that MGN improperly collected comments he made about Mr. Burrell in a voicemail he left for his brother, Prince William.
A pattern in the courtroom argument started to emerge, with Mr. Green pinning Prince Harry with inquiries about specifics while the duke retaliated with broader skepticism on how news reports were acquired.
The court was informed by Mr. Green that some of the stories produced by MGN papers were follow-ups to items in competing newspapers, which was a major component of MGN’s argument that certain stories were lawfully covered because they were in the public domain.
According to Prince Harry, the public is interested in any aspect of our private lives and that journalists are “desperate for anything royal.”
He explained to the court that just because a story had already been published doesn’t mean that attempts to develop it had not been made.
While acknowledging the “extraordinary level of press intrusion” Prince Harry has experienced, Mr. Green argued that “it does not follow that it was all unlawful activity.”
When asked if he was in court to “put a stop to this madness” after Harry claimed that journalists had created a great deal of suffering and upheaval, he responded, “That is my hope.”
There was a small break in the action in the afternoon following many hours of Mr. Green interrogating the witness.
Upon being questioned about an item regarding his participation in a school cadet event, Prince Harry responded, “My mind’s gone blank for a moment.”
The duke made an appearance at the High Court, making him the first senior royal to do so since Edward VII in 1891.
Along with Coronation Street actors Michael Turner, as Michael Le Vell, and Nikki Sanderson, as well as Fiona Wightman, the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse, Prince Harry is one of four persons suing the publisher.
Senior executives must have known about it and failed to stop it, according to the claimants, who also claim that illegal means were used to collect material for stories. MGN disputes these claims.
On Wednesday, Prince Harry will return to give his testimony.
- Boris Johnson will be Questioned for two Days at the Covid Inquiry
- Stopping Trump: According to Biden, is why he is Running for Another term.
- Thousands of People Attended the Funeral of Giulia Cecchettin, an Italian Woman who Died
- Tesla Whistleblower Questions the Safety of the Car
- Fourth Presidential Debate Qualifies four Republicans for 2024