Prince Harry’s Wednesday Testimony: Chelsy Davy, Strip Clubs & More
Prince Harry was back on the witness stand Wednesday 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 allegations.
The day started with MGN’s lawyer Andrew Green continuing to question Harry about articles the prince believes used unlawful information gathering.
One centered on his relationship with former girlfriend Chelsy Davy and her being upset about a trip he made to the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Berkshire in 2006.
The article appeared in the British publication Sunday People with the headline “Chel Shocked” and claimed Chelsy “blew her top.”
In his witness statement released yesterday, Harry said, “The article reports that Chelsy had ‘let rip in a string of phone calls’ and includes a comment from a ‘highly placed source’ that she had gone ‘berserk,’ had slammed the phone down because she was so angry, and then called back to scream at me for half an hour.”
He continued, “To the best of my recollection, I don’t think Chelsy did go mad about me going there. We did speak over the phone, but I promised her that I hadn’t had a lap dance and stayed with the three other cadets that had girlfriends. The detail about the timing and length of the calls is so specific. With hindsight, it seems likely to me that the Defendant’s journalists had access to one of our phone records and put two and two together to make a story.”
People magazine reports that Harry said on the stand, "My girlfriend’s number was bizarrely in the hands of Mirror journalists. Very suspicious that they had her number […] I don't believe she would give any journalist her number."
The royal added that he believes MGN had Davy’s phone records at the time, but he believed “most of the evidence has been destroyed.”
He was also questioned over a story where he tried to win Davy back. Harry was told people close to Chelsy had spoken to the media about their relationship, but he doubted it was true. He went on to “question the validity” of a transcript of one of her friends talking to the media and said it was from "a false e-mail to hide the true nature of how [MGN] got the information."
BBC adds that Harry was asked about a story from 2007 involving “monumental” fights with Chelsy, which attributed the information to a Palace source.
The Prince insisted, "I never discussed any details with the Palace about by relationship with my girlfriend, so attributing such information to a Palace source is incredibly suspicious.”
Instead, Harry believes the “source” was actually information obtained through phone hacking.
Green said his response was in the “land of total speculation about where this information might have come from.”
Harry was also asked about photos of himself and late TV presenter Caroline Flack that were taken outside friend Mark Dyer’s home in 2009.
The royal testified, "The story makes it very clear the photographers were there before I got there; they saw me arriving. The evening was specifically between me and Caroline, who is no longer with us."
While Harry and brother Prince William stopped speaking with Flack and Dyer after the incident, Harry said, "I now believe the information came from our voicemails… Even those I trusted the most, I ended up doubting."
Green went on to ask Harry if he believed MGN would risk phone hacking to obtain information after a journalist from another tabloid was arrested for doing it in 2006.
Harry said, "I believe the risk is worth the reward for them. "I believe phone hacking was on an industrial scale across three of the papers."
Green then asked, “If the court was to find you were never hacked by an MGN journalist, would you be relieved or disappointed?"
Green went on, “You want to have been phone hacked?”
The royal insisted, "No one wants to have been phone hacked.”
Harry’s testimony ended with his own lawyer, David Sherborne, questioning him on the stand.
When asked what it was like rehashing the past with the world watching, Harry’s voice broke as he said, “It’s a lot.”
The trial started May 10, but Tuesday was Harry’s first day in court (read a recap here). 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.