Prince Harry vs The Mirror: Here's all you need to know about royal showdown
Harry claims that 140 stories published by MGN papers were the result of phone hacking or other unlawful behavior
Prince Harry is set to make history as he takes the witness stand at the High Court in London on Tuesday, becoming the first British royal to do so since the 1890s. The trial is part of his lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), publisher of the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, and the Sunday People tabloids. Let's dive into the details of the trial and the key moments that have unfolded so far:
The Court Case Unveiled
Prince Harry, along with over 100 other individuals, is suing MGN for alleged unlawful activities between 1991 and 2011. They accuse the media group of widespread phone-hacking and obtaining private information through deception. The claimants' lawyers argue that senior editors and executives were aware and approved of these practices, while MGN contests the claims and denies knowledge of wrongdoing.
Prince Harry was chosen as one of four test cases for the trial, which commenced on May 10. However, he did not appear in court as expected on Monday, surprising both the judge and MGN's lawyers.
Harry claims that 140 stories published by MGN papers were the result of phone hacking or other unlawful behavior. These articles allegedly affected his relationship with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy and strained his bond with his elder brother, Prince William. MGN admitted to instructing private investigators to unlawfully gather information about Harry and apologized for their actions.
Phone Hacking Background
Phone hacking, the illegal interception of voicemails, first came to public attention in 2006 when a royal editor and a private investigator from Rupert Murdoch's News of the World were arrested and later jailed. Further revelations in 2011 led to the closure of the paper and a criminal trial. Mirror Group had previously denied involvement in hacking but admitted liability in four cases in 2014. settling over 600 claims since then.
Harry's legal action against MGN aims to shed light on alleged unlawful activities and hold the media accountable. He views it as a broader battle against the abuse of power within the press. In addition to the MGN case, he is pursuing legal action against Murdoch's News Group Newspapers and Associated Newspapers over phone hacking and privacy breaches.
Cross-Examination and Media Attention
During his testimony, Prince Harry is expected to face cross-examination by MGN's lawyers, who will likely challenge his evidence, reliability, and the timing of his claims. The trial has attracted significant media attention, with the prince using this platform to directly accuse journalists and seek justice for what he perceives as harm caused to his mental health and the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana.
Impact on the Royal Family
Prince Harry's decision to take legal action against several British newspapers has disrupted the traditional "never complain, never explain" approach of the royal family. He sees his actions as a necessary crusade against media misconduct and has criticized other family members for prioritizing good relations with tabloids over pursuing meaningful change.
As the trial continues, Prince Harry's appearance in court signals a significant moment in the battle between the royal family and the tabloid press. The outcome of this case, along with his other ongoing legal actions, may shape the future relationship between the British monarchy and the media.