Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, needs no introduction. From his conflict with the British Royal Family to his marriage to the American actress Meghan Markle (now the Duchess of Sussex), all facets of his life have been under constant media attention as long as one can remember.
Now, he is once again back in the news for being in court. No, he is not the one being accused. Instead, it is the Mirror Group Newspapers against which Prince Harry has filed a lawsuit. In fact, he testified at the London High Court recently, which made him the first British Royal blood since the late nineteenth century to stand in the witness box.
Interestingly, the cases have also been filed against other UK-based newspapers and tabloids, including the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, and the People. Why? All of them have been accused of resorting to illegal phone hacking strategies between 1991 and 2011.
Prince Harry sues the Mirror Group Newspapers
The Mirror Group Newspapers or he MCG, just like its competitions, have been involved in unlawful phone hacking activities. However, they denied all claims for years until 2014, when they confessed to a couple of allegations. In fact, the Mirror Group Newspaper has ever since settled over six hundred lawsuits and spent more than 100 million pounds in compensation.
At present, the MCG is involved in 33 trials, but Prince Harry claims that there are as many as 140 stories that the media house gathered via phone hacking and similar illicit activities. For instance, the Duke of Sussex believes that such proceedings ruined his relationship with ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, as well as the one he shared with his elder brother Prince William. He has also gone on record saying such activities have affected his life since he was a teenager.
What’s interesting here is that the Mirror Group Newspapers dealt with the lawsuit quite tactfully. While they have accepted that one of their private investigators did obtain information illegally pertaining to Prince Harry, they have denied all charges, stating that the Duke’s phone was never directly hacked by them.
They even said that it was King Charles III’s (Harry’s father, now the British monarch) former help that released inside news to them. However, to close the matter at hand, the MCG has agreed to issue a formal apology as well as pay for the damages incurred to Prince Harry’s personal life. Unfortunately for Harry, his lawyers could provide little evidence to pursue the matter further.
Other tabloids Prince Harry has taken to court
Besides MCG, Prince Harry has also taken legal action against other British tabloids, such as The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers or the NGN, where the allegations remain the same. Earlier, Murdoch’s News of the World or NoW’s former editor Andy Coulson was found guilty of hacking phones and sentenced to prison. Thereafter, the owner shut down the tabloid.
Likewise, King Charles’ younger son is also pressing charges against Associated Newspapers or the ANL, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mirror, and Daily Mail’s publisher jointly with British singer Elton John and five others.
Interestingly, Harry has accused ANL of libel while they continued to deny all charges. The prince has also stated that the court cases were not just about phone hacking but rather about taking accountability for misuse of power.
At a press conference outside the London High Court, he said the press was a key part of the society to risk losing its influence and cannot afford to have “criminals masquerading as journalists running the show.” However, the question remains – will Harry beat the British media or the other way around? Only time will tell us.