If we were to guess the first time Prince Harry would return to the United Kingdom after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, we did not think it would be for an appearance at London’s High Court.
The California-based royal attended the first two days of hearings this week, for a suit against Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), which publishes the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday among others.
ANL is stood accused of listening to private voicemails, phone calls and finding private records including medical information. It’s an allegation they completely deny.
Harry gave his witness statement to the court, alongside other celebrities joining him in the suit, including Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley. The royal’s statement was colourful, managing to mention his late mother Princess Diana, ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, wife Meghan Markle and even took aim at “the Institution”.
Prince Harry explained that he chose to become involved in the suit to begin with due to his love for the UK. “I remain deeply concerned by the unchecked power, influence and criminality of Associated. The evidence I have seen shows that Associated’s journalists are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us,” the Prince said. “The British public deserve to know the full extent of this cover up and I feel it is my duty to expose it.”
It seems Prince Harry has exited his ‘spilling tea’ era and entered his ‘vigilante Prince’ era.
“I have always had an uneasy relationship with the press,” he said. “However, as a member of the Institution the policy was to ‘never complain, never explain.’ There was no alternative; I was conditioned to accept it. For the most part, I accepted the interest in my performing my public functions.”
As Harry got older, paparazzi scrutiny weighed more heavily. He referenced a particular holiday with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy where she felt “hunted” by the press. “It was terrifying for me, too, because there was nothing I could do to stop it and now she was in my world.”
He also mentioned the escalation of interest, as his relationship with Meghan Markle flourished, noting “vicious persistent attacks on, harassment of and intrusive, sometimes racist articles concerning Meghan.”
Even Prince Archie’s birth in 2019 made the situation worse, Harry testified.
Of course, the final shoe dropped when Prince Harry said the “Instutition” of the royal family were withholding information from him about security breaches, such as phone taps.
“The Institution was without a doubt withholding information from me for a long time about NGN’s phone hacking and that has only become clear in recent years as I have pursued my own claim with different legal advice and representation,” he said.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that the bubble burst in terms of what I knew in 2020 when I moved out of the United Kingdom.”
“To this day, there are members of the Royal Family and friends of mine who may have been targeted by NGN and I have no idea whether they have or have not brought claims,” he added. “There was never any centralized discussion between us about who had brought claims as each office in the Institution is siloed. There is this misconception that we are all in constant communication with one another but that is not true.”
He continued: “The Institution made it clear that we did not need to know anything about phone hacking and it was made clear to me that the Royal Family did not sit in the witness box because that could open up a can of worms.”
Consider this can, well and truly cracked.