Prince Harry laments ‘press invasion’ in court appearance

June 07, 2023

LONDON: Prince Harry on Tuesday testified he had suffered lifelong “press invasion” and that some media had blood on their hands, as he became the first British royal in more than 100 years to give evidence in court.The younger son of King Charles III accuses Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) -- publisher of The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People tabloids -- of illegal information gathering, including phone hacking.


In a much-anticipated appearance in the witness box at London´s High Court, Harry said he had been the victim of relentless and distressing media intrusion “most of my life up until this day”. “How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness,” the 38-year-old added in a lengthy witness statement released.

“You´re then either the ´playboy prince´, the ´failure´, the ´dropout´ or, in my case, the ´thicko´, the ´cheat´, the ´underage drinker´, the ´irresponsible drug taker´, the list goeson. “As a teenager and in my early 20s, I ended up feeling as though I was playing up to a lot of the headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to pin on me... It was a downward spiral,” he said, calling the reporting “utterly vile”.

During cross-examination by MGN´s lawyer Andrew Green, Harry admitted that he had no recollection of reading the majority of the articles -- many around two decades old -- that he was complaining about. But he called them “incredibly invasive” and taken as a whole they had made him acutely paranoid and ruined his relationships.

“Friendships were lost entirely unnecessarily,” the prince noted. The case is Harry´s latest legal battle with the press since he stepped down from royal duties in early 2020 and relocated to California with his American wife Meghan.

It centres on claims that MGN´s tabloids broke the law to obtain stories about Harry and other claimants, including two TV soap opera actors and the ex-wife of a comedian. Harry´s legal team has submitted that “industrial scale” illegal activities were happening at the publisher and had been approved by senior executives. At the May 10 start of the trial, MGN apologised and admitted to “some evidence” of unlawful information gathering, including for a story about Harry. But it denied voicemail interception and also argued that some claims had been brought too late.