After a lengthy legal battle, Prince Harry has been awarded substantial damages in his phone hacking case against the Daily Mirror‘s publisher, Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) – and has fired shots directly at Piers Morgan. MGN also publishes the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.
Back in December, the same court ruled that Morgan “knew perfectly well what was going on” and awarded the royal £140,600. Today (9 February 2024) a judge ruled that the Duke of Sussex is also entitled to an interim payment towards the costs of £400,000). Harry’s various claims against the publisher have now all been settled.
Speaking after the verdict, the Duke of Sussex’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said Morgan (editor of the Daily Mirror during the time of the alleged phone hackings against the royal) knew “perfectly well” what methods were used to obtain stories about Harry’s personal life.
Morgan has always denied any wrongdoing, saying he was unaware that celebrities and public figures, like Prince Harry, were having their privacy massively compromised through phone hacking.
“MGN will pay the Duke of Sussex a substantial additional sum by way of damages and all the costs of his claim,” said Sherborne. “In light of this, we call again for the authorities to uphold the rule of law and to prove that no one is above it. That includes Mr Morgan, who as editor knew perfectly well what was going on, as the judge held.”
He added, “His contempt for the court’s ruling and his continued attacks ever since demonstrate why it was so important to obtain a clear and detailed judgment.”
In response, Morgan told reporters gathered outside of his home, “I want to reiterate, as I’ve consistently said for many years now – I’ve never hacked a phone or told anybody else to hack a phone. And nobody has produced any actual evidence to prove that I did.”
He also labelled the prince “ruthless, greedy and hypocritical”.
Morgan later tweeted, “STATEMENT: I totally agree with Prince Harry that ruthless intrusion into the private lives of the Royal Family for financial gain is utterly reprehensible… and I hope he stops doing it.”
Earlier in the trial, which has lasted more than a year, a judge found 15 out of 33 articles about Prince Harry, published by MGN, were a result of unlawful information gathering. The stories ranged from tidbits about Harry’s then-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, to allegations about the royal smoking cannabis.
An MGN spokesperson said the ruling highlighted “where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid compensation”.
Prince Harry recently visited the UK for a brief stint following his father’s cancer diagnosis. King Charles III is currently undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer which is said to have been “caught early”. Reports from the Palace say the King is in good spirits.
It’s believed that during his short time in the UK, Harry did not meet with his brother Prince William.
Jennifer Savin is Cosmopolitan UK’s multiple award-winning Features Editor, who was crowned Digital Journalist of the Year for her work tackling the issues most important to young women. She regularly covers breaking news, cultural trends, health, the royals and more, using her esteemed connections to access the best experts along the way. She’s grilled everyone from high-profile politicians to A-list celebrities, and has sensitively interviewed hundreds of people about their real life stories. In addition to this, Jennifer is widely known for her own undercover investigations and campaign work, which includes successfully petitioning the government for change around topics like abortion rights and image-based sexual abuse. Jennifer is also a published author, documentary consultant (helping to create BBC’s Deepfake Porn: Could You Be Next?) and a patron for Y.E.S. (a youth services charity). Alongside Cosmopolitan, Jennifer has written for The Times, Women’s Health, ELLE and numerous other publications, appeared on podcasts, and spoken on (and hosted) panels for the Women of the World Festival, the University of Manchester and more. In her spare time, Jennifer is a big fan of lipstick, leopard print and over-ordering at dinner. Follow Jennifer on Instagram, X or LinkedIn.