Prince Harry arrived in London on Tuesday 6 June to take the stand against Mirror Group Newspapers, which he accuses of phone hacking. In court, the Duke of Sussex made a number of bombshell confidences. Here is a selection.
Right from the start of the trial he is bringing against Mirror Group Newspapers for phone hacking, Prince Harry was in for a rude awakening. Although the trial opened on 5 June, the Duke of Sussex did not attend the first session in the High Court in London, arriving too late on English soil after celebrating his daughter Lilibet’s birthday in California. This put the judge and the Mirror Group Newspapers representative in a bad mood. Prince Harry finally made a remarkable arrival on 6 June, mocked as soon as he entered the building by a satirical painting that did not go unnoticed, thus becoming the first member of the British royal family to testify before a court for more than a century…
In his 55-page statement, Prince Harry said he “sincerely believed that in every relationship I have ever had, whether with friends, girlfriends, family or the military, there has always been a third party involved, namely the tabloid press”. According to the BBC, his case involves 148 articles published between 1996 and 2010. Last May, the MGN apologised to the Duke of Sussex for a case of illegal information gathering. In court on Tuesday 6 June, the youngest son of Charles III made a number of explosive confidences, touching on everything from his separation from his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy to his late mother Lady Diana’s butler Paul Burrell and his sworn enemy, journalist Piers Morgan. Everything you didn’t want to miss.
Prince Harry blames the press for his break-up with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy
During the trial, the Duke of Sussex claimed in particular that the intrusion of the press had caused “an enormous amount of unnecessary stress and tension” in his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, whom he dated on and off between 2004 and 2010. Prince Harry added that this pressure “led her to make the decision that a royal life was not for her, which was incredibly upsetting to me at the time”.
Prince Harry and his Nazi costume in 2005
During the hearing, Prince Harry returned to the unfortunate episode of the Nazi costume he wore in 2005. The Duke of Sussex explained that, at the time, “there was a lot of press coverage of me because I had attended a fancy dress party”. Indeed, a wave of indignation swept through the press when a photo was published in The Sun showing him dressed in an outfit with a swastika on his arm. The youngest son of Charles III admitted that it was a “poor choice of costume” and that he was “very sorry if I offended or embarrassed anyone”. In his memoirs, he had claimed that Prince William and Kate Middleton had laughed and encouraged him to wear the suit. Complaining about the press, he said: “My mistakes were publicised”. At the time, Harry claimed The Mirror had to resort to hacking because it had reported that his girlfriend Chelsy Davy “was furious and gave me a dressing down on the phone” following allegations that “I flirted with a brunette at the party.”
Prince Harry lashes out at Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan has been targeted by Prince Harry. According to the latter, the former editor of The Mirror between 1995 and 2004 unleashed “a barrage of horrific personal attacks and intimidation” against him and his wife Meghan Markle. Harry added that this was undoubtedly a consequence of his complaint against the media group and was “probably retaliation in the hope that I would back down, before I could hold him to account for his illegal activities towards me and my mother while he was editor”. Piers Morgan has always denied phone hacking. Asked about Prince Harry’s comments by Sky News on Tuesday 6 June, the presenter quipped, “I wish him well in his campaign for privacy and look forward to reading his next book on the subject.”
Prince Harry and the rumours about James Hewitt and his ‘biological father’
Before the judge, Prince Harry said he was a teenager when he heard “cruel” and “hurtful” stories that James Hewitt was his real father. Only to discover, at the age of 30, that the timeline didn’t add up, reports the Daily Mail. The Duke said: “At the time, when I was 18 and had lost my mother six years previously, stories like this seemed very damaging and very real. They were hurtful, mean and cruel. I always wondered about the motives behind these stories”. Prince Harry added with sorrow: “Did the newspapers want to sow doubt in the public mind so that I would be ousted from the Royal Family?
Prince Harry attacks the British government
Appearing before the High Court in London on Tuesday 6 June, Prince Harry, on a crusade to reform the press in his country, openly attacked the government. “At the national level, at the moment, our country is judged overall by the state of our press and our government – both of which, in my view, are at an all-time low”. An explosive statement that should make his father Charles III break out in a cold sweat. He later claimed that he was “afraid of alienating” the press, which was “incredibly worrying for the whole of the UK”.
Prince Harry attacks Diana’s butler Paul Burrell
Prince Harry also took a swipe at Paul Burrell, whom he admitted to calling a “two-faced piece of shit”, as reported in a newspaper article. At the time, Diana’s former butler was on trial for allegedly selling items belonging to the Princess of Wales. A 2003 People article reported that Prince William wanted to arrange a meeting with Paul Burrell, but Prince Harry feared that the former butler would take advantage of the opportunity to make money. The Duke of Sussex claimed that the People article must have originated from intercepted voicemails, admitting: “I would have used the phrase ‘two-faced shit’ as has been reported, and I think that may have been taken directly from a voicemail that I had left”.
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