Prince Harry appeared in court on Tuesday as a witness in a lawsuit against a tabloid publisher. He accused the publisher of engaging in phone hacking and other illegal practices. The prince, dressed in a suit and maroon tie, arrived at the High Court in London in a black SUV, holding a Bible as he was sworn in.
This trial is the first of several lawsuits brought by Prince Harry against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, alleging the use of unlawful techniques on a large scale to obtain exclusive stories. His goal is to hold the U.K. press accountable for what he perceives as their relentless pursuit and harassment of him and his family.
During his testimony, Prince Harry spoke about his lifelong experience of hostility from the press. He stated that the tabloids played a destructive role in his upbringing. Although he couldn’t recall specific articles, he asserted that every single article published about him caused him distress.
When questioned about evidence of phone hacking in specific articles, Prince Harry indicated that he would need to ask the journalists who wrote them. He expressed suspicions about the methods used to obtain information, pointing out that some journalists involved in the articles were known for hacking or had connections to private investigators. Regarding an article about his 12th birthday, he speculated that the phone of his late mother, Princess Diana, may have been hacked.
The prince also discussed his dissatisfaction with the reporting of his personal life and the portrayal of him in tabloids. He stated that he felt pressured to conform to the negative headlines and stereotypes created by the media. Prince Harry expressed concern about the impact of journalists’ behavior on his mental health, leading to bouts of depression and paranoia. He emphasized the need for press regulation and accused some journalists of avoiding accountability while claiming to hold public figures responsible.
Prince Harry addressed his distress upon learning about the alleged hacking of Princess Diana’s private conversations by the Mirror Group. He criticized Piers Morgan, former editor of the Daily Mirror, for his involvement in publishing her sensitive messages. Prince Harry described this behavior as vile and entirely unjustified, particularly considering the proximity to his mother’s death.
In his witness statement, Prince Harry called for change in the British media landscape. He highlighted the importance of press and government accountability, expressing his belief that the current state of both institutions is at rock bottom. He voiced his concerns about the impact of the media on the reputation of the United Kingdom globally.
This trial is significant as Prince Harry is the first British royal to testify in court since the 19th century. However, his absence on the trial’s opening day drew criticism from the judge and the defendant’s lawyer.
Prince Harry’s testimony reflects his commitment to reforming the British media and addressing the alleged racism and scrutiny faced by him and his wife, Meghan. He seeks to shed light on the influence and behavior of journalists and hopes to create a more responsible and transparent media environment.