The legal battle between the British press and Prince Harry is headed for a showdown in a London courtroom this week with the publisher of the Daily Mirror.
The Duke of Sussex is scheduled to testify in the High Court after his lawyer presents opening statements Monday in the first of his legal cases to go to trial. One of three alleging tabloids unlawfully snooped on him in their cutthroat competition for scoops on the royal family.
Harry will be the first member of the British royal family in more than a century to testify in court. Prince Harry is expected to describe his anguish and anger over being hounded by the British press throughout his life. And its impact on those around him.
Harry, 38, has blamed paparazzi for causing the car crash that killed his mother, the late Princess Diana. And said harassment and intrusion by the British press, including allegedly racist articles. Moreover, ultimately led him and his wife, Meghan, to flee to the U.S. in 2020 and leave royal life behind.
Articles he has cited date back to his 12th birthday. When the Mirror reported he was feeling “badly” about the divorce of his mother and father, now King Charles III.
Prince Harry’s Trust Betrayed
The reports made Harry wonder who he could trust as he feared friends and associates were betraying him. By leaking information to the newspapers, he said in court documents. His circle of friends grew smaller and he suffered “huge bouts of depression and paranoia.” Relationships fell apart as the women in his life. Moreover, their family members – were “dragged into the chaos.”
He says he later discovered that the source wasn’t disloyal friends but aggressive journalists and private investigators. They hired them to eavesdrop on voicemails and track him to locations. However, as remote as Argentina and an island off Mozambique.
Mirror Group Newspapers said it didn’t hack Harry’s phone and its articles were based on legitimate reporting techniques. The publisher admitted and apologized for hiring a private eye to dig up dirt on one of Harry’s nights out at the bar. But the resulting 2004 article headlined “Sex on the Beach with Harry” was not among the 33 in question at trial.
Mirror Group said it has settled more than 600 of some 830 unlawful information-gathering claims and paid out more than 100 million pounds ($125 million).