Prince Harry rubbishes rumours that King Charles is not his father
Prince Harry has lashed out at Piers Morgan and rumours the duke’s father was James Hewitt as he gives evidence in his landmark case against the Daily Mirror’s publisher at the High Court in London.
The Duke of Sussex has described “horrific personal attacks and intimidation” from former Mirror editor Morgan, and suggested newspaper stories pedalling rumours his father was Diana, Princess of Wales’ former lover Mr Hewitt were aimed at ousting him from the royal family.
Harry is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages, claiming journalists at its titles were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.
In his 55-page witness statement, the duke stoked a political storm by denouncing the government and the press as at “rock bottom” and targeting tabloid outlets more broadly when he questioned: “How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness?”
As he became the first senior British royal to appear in a witness box in more than a century, Harry also said the thought of people unlawfully intruding into the private life of his late mother Princess Diana made him “feel physically sick”.
The prince, the fifth-in-line to the throne, and 100 others are suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, at the High Court in London over allegations of widespread unlawful information gathering between 1991 and 2011.
In his 50-page written witness statement and a day of cross-examination from MGN’s lawyer Andrew Green, the younger son of King Charles said he had been targeted since 1996 when he was a schoolboy.
Harry said the press would try to destroy his relationships with girlfriends, blaming them for his break-up with Chelsy Davy, for causing his circle of friends to shrink, and for bouts of depression and paranoia.
‘Playboy prince:’ He said he had been labelled a “playboy prince”, a “thicko”, a “failure” and a “dropout”.
“Looking back on it now, such behaviour on their part is utterly vile,” he wrote, saying the tabloids had incited “hatred and harassment” into his and his wife Meghan’s private lives.
In another section he said: “How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness?”
The duke added: “Having seen me grow up from a baby, being born into this ‘contractual relationship’ without any choice, and scrutinised my every move, the tabloids have known the challenges and mental health struggles that I have had to deal with throughout my childhood and adult life, and for them to then play on that and use it to their own advantage, I think is, well, criminal.”
Barrister Andrew Green KC concluded his cross-examination for the day by asking the duke about a 2005 article in the Sunday People about his then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy being on her gap year.
The duke appeared emotional as he responded to a question from Green about when he first saw the article.
Harry’s voice seemed to crack as he replied: “I can’t remember when I first saw this article, but having to look at it now and see the level of detail ... is extra distressing.”
Piers Morgan ‘listening to Diana’s private messages’ makes Harry physically sick: Prince Harry has said the thought of Piers Morgan and reporters at the Daily Mirror “earwigging into my mother’s private and sensitive messages” made him “physically sick”.
The High Court phone hacking trial heard on Monday that letters between Princess Diana and former television entertainer Michael Barrymore about their “highly sensitive meetings” show her private exchanges had been intercepted.
Harry said: “The thought of Piers Morgan and his band of journalists earwigging into my mother’s private and sensitive messages, in the same way as they have me, and then having given her a ‘nightmare time’ three months prior to her death in Paris, makes me feel physically sick and even more determined to hold those responsible, including Mr Morgan, accountable for their vile and entirely unjustified behaviour.”