Prince Harry took the stand today in London in his case against the Mirror Group Newspapers.
The royal alleges the tabloid media group used unlawful information gathering like hacking into his phone voicemails, using private investigators, and more between 1995 and 2011.
MGN denies the hacking allegations.
Harry arrived at the High Court of the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, where he testified that the tabloids have "blood on their hands" for what they’ve done.
In addition to his testimony, Harry’s witness statement was also released in court, which explains, "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.”
He continued, "Having seen me grow up from a baby (being born into this 'contractual relationship' without any choice) and scrutinised my every move, the tabloids have known the challenges and mental health struggles that I have had to deal with throughout my childhood and adult life and for them to then play on that and use it to their own advantage, I think is, well, criminal."
He also names several individuals he was communicating with and exchanging voicemails with during that time including his father King Charles III, his mother Princess Diana, brother Prince William, and ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
The Duke of Sussex also explained why he thought his phone was being hacked.
“I wouldn’t go into my voicemail unless the little envelope symbol flashed up on my phone signalling to me that I had a new message. Sometimes this symbol would vanish before I had a chance to listen to the voicemail. I don’t know how long after they’d been listened to that the symbol vanished, presumably straight away. I also distinctly remember people saying to me, ‘Did you not get my voicemail?’ on both a personal and a work-related level. I was like, ‘No,’ and sometimes I would go back into my voicemail to look for it but still couldn’t find it.’”
While on the witness stand, Harry was in the hot seat as MGN’s lawyer Andrew Green asked the questions about why the royal believed unlawful means were used to obtain information for certain articles.
People reports, Harry spoke of the distress caused by the articles, noting, "newspapers are always in every palace, unfortunately," adding he "saw a lot of articles at the time, and the ones I didn't see, I was made aware of by the reaction of other people.”
At this point, the royal insisted the tabloids have "blood on their hands" for what they’ve done.
Green brought up an article from 2000 about Harry going to a London gastropub. The lawyer pointed out that information for that story may have come from the public, not unlawful means.
Harry answered, "I do not believe that as a witness it's my job to deconstruct the article or be able to answer which parts are unlawfully obtained and which aren't. I think the journalist themselves should be doing that."
Referencing a story in the witness statement about the Prince breaking his thumb at school, Green asked whose phone would have been hacked in that case. Harry suggested the doctor’s, but wasn’t sure.
Green accused Harry of “total speculation” at this point, but the royal replied, "I don’t believe so,” adding that the “journalist would hopefully be able to shed some light on how she got that information.”
The New York Times, also reports Green brought up the details of Harry’s 18th birthday party, accusing the Prince of giving an interview to another outlet days before the Mirror published their story.
The attorney stated, “Private information about which you complain the Mirror article reported had been revealed by you in an interview and then published in several Sunday papers.”
Harry replied, “I see the similarities, of course,” but claimed the Mirror article contained information linked to an invoice, which led him to believe there was unlawful news gathering.
The Duke also spoke about his past relationship with Davy. In this witness statement he said, “We could also never understand how private elements of our life together were finding their way into the tabloids, and so our circle of friends became smaller and smaller." He also blamed press intrusion for their split.
The Times reports that during his testimony he recalled how one article claimed Davy gave him a "tongue lashing" over the phone without sourcing the information.
He insisted, “I have no idea how anyone would know that,” besides hacking his friend's phone. When the lawyer asked why his friend wasn't testifying in the case, the prince replied, “I would want to spare most of my friends from this experience.”
Another article from 2005 had Davy supposedly speaking to a passenger on a plane, but the royal insisted, “I don’t believe that my girlfriend would ever have spoken to a passenger on a plane about our relationship.”
Harry's testimony has wrapped for today, but will continue tomorrow.
The trial started May 10, but this is Harry’s first day in court. He missed court on Monday after staying in California for his daughter Lilibet’s 2nd birthday over the weekend.
Reuters reports over 100 people have made claims against MGN for past illegal activity. The Independent adds that Prince Harry and a few other high-profile individuals were selected for “test cases” against the publishing group.
Harry’s testimony marks the first time a royal has taken the stand since King Edward VII testified in separate cases in 1870 and 1890.