What are the key findings of Prince Harry’s witness statement?

Woman's Day breaks down the 55 page claim.
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Prince Harry has appeared in London’s High Court as part of his ongoing legal battle against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), becoming the first member of the British royal family to testify in court since Edward VII in 1891.

The 38-year-old issued a 55 page witness statement, detailing over 70 articles that he believes to include information obtained by unlawful phone hacking and blagging, which includes the collection of sensitive information through deception and private investigators.

Scroll down to read the key findings of Prince Harry’s witness statement, including his defence of Princess Diana, his relationship with former girlfriend Chelsy Davy, and his scathing message to MGN.

Prince Harry appeared in London’s High Court on Tuesday, June 6.

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Prince Harry’s relationship with MGN

At the beginning of his written statement, Prince Harry stated that “it is not secret that I have had, and continue to have, a very difficult relationship with the tabloid press in the UK.”

The Duke of Sussex continued to outline his tumultuous relationship with the media, with particular reference to MGN publications, writing, “In my experience as a member of the Royal Family, each of us gets cast into a specific role by the tabloid press. You start off as a blank canvas while they work out what kind of persons you are and what kind of problems and temptations you might have.”

The Prince continued to emphasise the impact his relationship with the press had on his sense of self, stating that he felt that he “was playing up to a lot of the headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to pin on me mainly because I thought that, if they are printing this rubbish about me and people were believing it, I may as well ‘do the crime’, so to speak.”

He further described his relationship with the tabloid press as a “downward spiral” in which media outlets, such as those under MGN, would “constantly try and coax me, a ‘damaged’ young man, into doing something stupid that would make a good story and sell lots of newspapers.”

Prince Harry also added that his belief that MGN journalists “could have heard anything and everything” caused both himself and his associates great distress, with Prince Harry asserting that MGN’s “actions affected every area of my life.”

“It created a huge amount of paranoia in my relationships. I would become immediately suspicious of anyone that was named in a story about me… I felt that I couldn’t trust anybody, which was an awful feeling for me especially at such a young age,” he added.

The articles submitted by Prince Harry make up the over 140 articles cited as evidence by other public figures that claim to have been unlawfully targeted by MGN.

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Phone hacking suspicions

Prince Harry’s claims of phone hacking as a method of unlawful information gathering substantiate a significant portion of his overall claim.

As part of his written statement, Prince Harry detailed seventeen individual associates that he recalls sharing private personal and professional information with throughout his claim period, including his parents, Princess Diana and King Charles, and his sister-in law, Princess Catherine.

Prince Harry claimed that MGN obtained private information by intercepting his mobile phone and “listening to live calls I also made on my landlines.” He also detailed recurring issues with his personal voicemail, stating that he remembers “on multiple occasions hearing a voicemail for the first time that wasn’t ‘new’,” with voicemail notifications and recordings vanishing before he was able to listen to them.

“I don’t remember thinking that these were particularly suspicious at the time, although I now understand their significance in terms of phone hacking,” stated Harry, adding, “with the benefit of the knowledge I have now gained of the details of how the phone hacking took place, I believe that both mine and my Associates voicemail messages were hacked by [MGN.]”

Prince Harry also revealed that he had not been the only member of the royal family targeted by MGN, stating, “I am aware that my brother was also a victim of phone hacking and unlawful information gathering.”

Prince Harry claims that his brother has also been a victim of unlawful information gathering.

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Impact of tabloid media

“I genuinely feel that in every relationship that I’ve ever had – be that with friends, girlfriends, with family or with the army, there’s always been a third party involved, namely the tabloid press,” read Prince Harry’s statement, adding that he felt that the tabloid press thought they “owned” him.

Prince Harry also emphasised how his relationship with the press has heightened his fears regarding his personal safety and the safety of his family, stating that as a result of the “alternative and distorted version of me and my life [presented] to the general public,” he felt that “any one of the thousands of people that I met or was introduced to on any given day, could easily have gone ‘you know what, you’re an idiot. I’ve read all the stories about you and now I’m going to stab you’.”

The 38-year-old has also recently lost a legal bid to purchase personal police security while he is in the UK.

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In relation to his heightened awareness, Prince Harry also defended his mother, Princess Diana, who was continually harassed by paparazzi and tabloid media up until her death in August 1997.

“I’ve always heard people refer to my mother as paranoid, but she wasn’t. She was fearful of what was actually happening to her and now I know I was the same.”

The Duke of Sussex also revealed that he and Meghan Markle “reluctantly decided to step back from our full-time roles as senior members of the Royal Family,” stating that the move was largely “due to the constant intrusion, inciting of hatred and harassment by the tabloid press into every aspect of our private lives, which had a devastating impact on our mental health and wellbeing.”

Prince Harry further issued a targeted statement towards MGN stating that “people have died as a result” of their unlawful behaviour, adding “people will continue to kill themselves by suicide when they can’t see any other way out. How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness.”

Piers Morgan’s “vile” behaviour

Prince Harry was scathing in his comments relating to Piers Morgan – journalist and former editor of the Daily Mirror.

In recent years, Morgan has come under fire for his derogatory comments towards Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle. Prince Harry asserts that the “barrage of horrific personal attacks and intimidation from Piers Morgan” have been “as a consequence of me bringing my Mirror Group claim” in the hopes that the attacks will force the Sussexes to back down.

Prince Harry also called out Morgan’s treatment of his late-mother, Princess Diana, stating that “the thought of Piers Morgan and his band of journalists earwigging into my mother’s private and sensitive messages (in the same way as they have me) and then giving her a ‘nightmare time’ three months prior to her death in Paris, makes me feel physically sick and even more determined to hold those responsible, including Mr Morgan, accountable for their vile and entirely unjustified behaviour.”

Morgan was the editor of the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004.

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His relationship with then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy

Prince Harry had previously stated that he believed the tabloid media played a significant role in his relationship with then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, writing in his June 6 statement, “At no point did I have a girlfriend or a relationship with anyone without the tabloids getting involved and ultimately trying to ruin it using whatever unlawful means at their disposal.”

Prince Harry outlined a number of specific incidents in which MGN had interfered with his correspondence with Davy, writing that “there was nowhere that was off limits” for MGN, with the publishers unshakable presence putting a “huge amount of unnecessary strain on our relationship.”

The Duke of Sussex claimed that the information, correspondence, and whereabouts of both himself and Davy could have only been obtained through unlawful means, citing one instance where himself and Davy visited Bazaruto, a small island off the coast of Mozambique, to avoid the press, only to find that journalists and photographers from MGN had travelled to the island and booked into their hotel before they had arrived.

Prince Harry also outlined that he had uncovered 13 payments to private investigators hired to cover Chelsy, adding, “had she not been in a relationship with me, she would never have had to endure such a horrific experience at the hands of MGN’s journalists.”

The couple were together from 2004 to 2010.

(Image: Getty)

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