• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Prince Harry became the first royal in 100 years to give evidence in court

Prince Harry became the first royal in 100 years to give evidence in court

Prince Harry called some media outlets “incredibly invasive”.

Prince Harry said on Tuesday he had suffered a lifetime of “press invasion” and accused some media outlets of having blood on their hands, becoming the first royal to give evidence in court in more than 100 years.

Harry, 38, said he had been the victim of constant and painful media intrusion “for most of my life to date” and attacked the negative portrayal of him as “the heir apparent”.

“How much blood will be on their typing fingers before someone puts an end to this madness,” the youngest son of King Charles III added in the witness statement.

“Then you’re either ‘playboy prince’, ‘failure’, ‘dropout’ or in my case, ‘cheat’, ‘cheat’, ‘underage alcoholic’, ‘irresponsible drug taker’, the list goes on.

“As a teenager and early 20s, I felt like I was playing up to a lot of the headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to stick on me… it was a downward spiral,” he said. “Absolutely vile” reporting.

Harry accuses Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) Ltd, publisher of The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People tabloids, of illegal data collection, including phone hacking.

Under cross-examination by MGN’s lawyer Andrew Green, Harry admitted he did not remember reading most of the articles he complained about.

But he calls them “incredibly aggressive” and says overall they drive him crazy and ruin his relationships.

– ‘Industrial Scale’ –

The case is Harry’s latest legal battle with the media since he stepped back from senior royal duties in early 2020 and moved to California with his American wife, Meghan.

On Monday, the prince earned a reprimand from a judge for not attending his youngest daughter’s second birthday on Sunday for an opening statement in his case.

Dressed in dark robes, the Duke of Sussex, as he is formally known, began giving evidence shortly after 0930 GMT after swearing on the Bible.

On Monday, Harry’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said he had been the target of illegal data collection when he was a young schoolboy and that his phone had been hacked on “multiple occasions”.

“No aspect of the young prince’s life was safe from the intrusion of the press”, he submitted.

The lawsuit against MGN claims its 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.

At the start of the trial on May 10, MGN apologized and admitted “some evidence” of illegal data collection, including a story about Harry.

But it denied voicemail interception and argued some claims were brought too late.

Sherborne submitted that “industrial scale” illegal activities were taking place at MGN and were acknowledged by senior executives.

– Legal battles –

Harry, fifth in line to the throne, has had a tumultuous relationship with the media, and has been blamed for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

In television interviews released in January and in his explosive memoir, “Spare,” Harry accused other royals of colluding with the media.

In court filings unveiled in April, Harry claimed that because the royal family was an entity, he had entered into a “disclosure agreement” with a UK publisher, which prevented him from being sued, and avoided a royal entering the witness box.

He also accused the monarchy of wanting to prevent the opening of a “Pandora’s box” of negative coverage tarnishing the royal brand.

The prince has vowed to lead efforts to change Britain’s tabloid behaviour.

He also sued Associated Newspapers (ANL), the publisher of the Daily Mail, alleging breach of privacy.

The California-based prince made a surprise appearance at the High Court in March to hear legal arguments in the ANL case but did not give direct evidence.

The last time a royal gave evidence in court was in the 1890s when the future King Edward VII took the stand at the libel trial.

Charles’ sister, Princess Anne, became the first member of the current royal family to be criminally convicted in 2002 after one of her dogs bit two children.

She did not have to give evidence in court as she pleaded guilty to the charge under the Dangerous Dog Act.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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