U.K. Phone Hacking Lawsuit: Prince Harry Is Pressed on Details in Lawsuit Against U.K. Tabloids


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Apr 03, 2023

U.K. Phone Hacking Lawsuit: Prince Harry Is Pressed on Details in Lawsuit Against U.K. Tabloids

On his first day of testimony, Harry faced questions over his accusation that a

On his first day of testimony, Harry faced questions over his accusation that a British newspaper group hacked his cellphone more than a decade ago.

Follow our updates as Prince Harry resumes his testimony.

Stephen Castle

Follow our updates as Prince Harry resumes his testimony.

Prince Harry spent nearly five hours on the witness stand on Tuesday airing his longstanding grievances against Britain's famously unbridled tabloid press.

It was Harry's first day testifying in the lawsuit that he and three other claimants have brought in London against Mirror Group Newspapers, which he has accused of long waging war on his family's privacy, including through phone hacking.

His testimony is to continue on Wednesday. Here are the highlights from Day 1.

That may come as little surprise. His fight with the tabloids had been underway for years, after all, so we knew where Harry was coming from. But lest there be any doubt, on Tuesday he had this to say about reporters and editors in a written witness statement: "How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness."

He characterized their behavior as "utterly vile" and "criminal," and elaborated on the impact on him personally, saying, "their actions affected every area of my life." The tabloid coverage, he said, had spurred "bouts of depression and paranoia." And to pursue his legal case, he said, he was "forced to relive a horrific period in my life."

The last time a royal was cross-examined in a British courtroom is believed to have been 1891, but that does not appear to be fazing Harry. He kept his cool and his focus, and handled tough questions with poise.

"Would it be right to say you have a longstanding hostility toward the press because of its intrusion into your life?" he was asked at one point early in the hearing. "Yes, that is correct," Prince Harry replied. Despite intense grilling from the Mirror Group's lawyer, Andrew Green, Harry came across as soft-spoken, measured, precise and unwilling to be drawn into speculation. At one point he looked toward the judge, intensity clear on his face and in his voice, as he spoke of the distress these stories had caused.

In his witness statement, Harry complained that royal family members are cast in preordained roles by the tabloids. "You’re then either the ‘playboy prince’, the ‘failure,’ the ‘drop out’ or, in my case, the ‘thicko,’ the ‘cheat,’ the ‘underage drinker,’ ‘irresponsible drug taker,’ the list goes on," he wrote.

This persona came to overshadow his life, he said. Whenever he entered a room, he "was facing judgments and opinions based on what had been reported about me, true or not." When he was younger, he said, he "expected people to be thinking, ‘He's obviously going to fail this test, because he's a thicko.’"

Even when the news was positive, such as when he passed a military assessment, there was a sting in the tale. "It feels like the tabloids were looking to find any way to build me up and then knock me down at every chance they had." Press intrusion, he said, was "the main factor" for the end of his relationship with Chelsy Davy, a former girlfriend. More recently, he said, he and his wife, Meghan, have "been subjected to a barrage of horrific personal attacks."

The British tabloids need to be held accountable, Harry said. "My view is: How can anybody possibly trust a media organization that enjoys the liberties of free press, when their own legal people and board covers up the truth?" he asked. "Even the police and the government are scared to hold them accountable or seek justice against them. They can truly believe they are above the law," he said.

Discussing the specific breaches at the center of the lawsuit, Harry pointed to details cited in a litany of articles that he suggested could be explained only by phone hacking or other forms of illegal news gathering. He recalls how his whereabouts was suspiciously well known by paparazzi, including when he went to meet Ms. Davy at the airport or visited a nightclub. He recalled how sometimes the voice mail symbol on his phone would vanish before he had a chance to listen to the message, and how friends would ask him whether he had heard voice mail messages he had never seen.

The publisher contends that the prince has provided no solid proof of phone hacking. Some of the articles in question were published before the prince had a phone, argued its lawyer, who told Prince Harry that however much sympathy there was for him over the troubling press intrusion, "it doesn't necessarily follow from that that it was the result of unlawful activity."

Mr. Green spent much of Tuesday examining the stories Prince Harry had cited, pointing to other possible explanations for how detailed information became known to reporters — including tipoffs, information from friends or aides, other press reports or just official statements from Buckingham Palace.

The lawyer even cited "Spare," the prince's own memoir, in an attempt to refute Harry's claim that a story about his drug taking may have come from unlawful means. Referring to the book, Mr. Green argued that the details included in at least one story may have come from Buckingham Palace "playing ball" with the tabloid press, using his own words against him.

Years before he stepped down from his official duties, Harry was worried that his place in the royal family was being undermined. In his witness statement, he cited articles based on a rumor that his biological father was James Hewitt, a former a cavalry officer and lover of Princess Diana.

At the time, he wrote, he "wasn't actually aware that my mother hadn't met Major Hewitt until after I was born," and he called the reports "hurtful, mean and cruel." But he also added: "I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so I might be ousted from the royal family?"

In a different vein, it emerged from the testimony that the press is not the only British institution Harry holds in disdain. The prince appears to be no fan of the current British government, which is led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. "At the moment," Harry wrote, "our country is judged globally by the state of our press and our government — both of which I believe are at rock bottom."

Megan Specia contributed reporting.

Stephen Castle

In his hacking lawsuit, Prince Harry aims to land another blow against a tabloid industry that has long been accused of widespread privacy abuses but that has been forced in recent years to rein in its excesses.

So even if Harry, the younger son of King Charles III, wins his suit against Mirror Group Newspapers for apparently hacking his cellphone more than a decade ago, analysts question how much of an effect a legal victory would have on publications that have already had to adapt because of hefty legal settlements, prison time for their journalists and the threat of regulation.

The prince has been at war with the raucous, freewheeling press for years. And since Britain's phone-hacking scandal broke, it has forced a News Corporation publication to close, helped send several prominent journalists to jail, reaped hundreds of millions of pounds in legal fees and compensation for victims, and led Parliament to seriously consider regulating the industry.

At the same time, the once-mighty British tabloids have been weakened by a digital revolution that has transformed the global media landscape by gutting revenue, even as the public's appetite for celebrity news has not waned.

"Things have moved — they haven't necessarily got better in every way, but they have definitely moved on," said David Yelland, a former editor of The Sun and founder of Kitchen Table Partners, a communications company. "Tabloid journalism doesn't exist in the form it did."

Jenny Gross

Prince Harry, in written testimony filed to the High Court on Tuesday, said that the British tabloids had taken great pleasure over the years in knocking him down, time and time again.

Royals are cast in specific roles by the tabloids, he wrote. "You’re then either the ‘playboy prince,’ the ‘failure,’ the ‘drop out’ or, in my case, the ‘thicko,’ the ‘cheat,’ the ‘underage drinker,’ the ‘irresponsible drug taker,’ the list goes on."

Harry wrote that he had been drawn into a downward spiral, in which the tabloids would coax him into doing something stupid that would make a splashy story.

A look at some of the tabloid coverage of Harry's life:

The Nazi uniform. In 2005, The Sun ran a photograph of Harry, then 20 years old, wearing a Nazi uniform with a swastika armband at a costume party under the headline "Harry the Nazi." Harry later apologized. In the Netflix documentary about him and his wife, Meghan, that they released last year, he said that dressing up as a Nazi was "one of the biggest mistakes of my life."

Getting naked in Las Vegas. The tabloid news media frequently published photographs showing Harry tumbling out of some of the most expensive nightclubs in London and around the world, but a 2012 story was particularly lurid. "Prince Harry put the crown jewels on display in Vegas this weekend," TMZ reported along with photos of the naked prince taken during a game of strip pool in his hotel suite at the Wynn hotel. Harry commented five months later, saying: "I probably let myself down," TMZ reported.

Harry's Afghanistan tours. The prince, who served in the British Army from 2005 to 2015, had to cut short his tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2008 after another soldier tried to sell photos of him at this secret frontline posting to The Sun. The Sun didn't publish the photos at the time, because it and other outlets had an agreement with the Defense Ministry that they would not publish information indicating that Harry was on tour. Harry was stationed in Afghanistan again for several months from late 2012 to early 2013.

Harry's former girlfriends. Before he married the American actress Meghan Markle in 2018, Harry's two longest relationships were with Chelsy Davy, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur, whom he dated on and off from 2004 to 2010, and the actress Cressida Bonas from 2012 to 2014. The tabloids chronicled intimate details of Harry's relationships, including details that Harry says journalists could have gotten only through hacking or other illicit means. In an article with the headline "Chelsy Davy Dumps Prince Harry," The Mirror reported in 2009 that Ms. Davy had broken up with Harry over "a tearful phone call," telling him, "It's over."

When Harry met Meghan. In 2016, soon after Harry and Meghan starting dating, The Daily Mail published an article headlined "Harry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed — so will he be dropping by for tea?" Another referred to what it called her "exotic DNA." Meghan continued to come under frequent criticism by the British tabloids, prompting Harry to issue a letter to the news media calling out the "racial undertones" of their coverage of her. "It is no secret that I have had, and continue to have, a very difficult relationship with the tabloid press in the U.K.," he wrote in testimony.

Mark Landler and Megan Specia

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are plaintiffs in no fewer than seven cases against the British tabloids and other news media organizations for phone hacking and other violations of their privacy.

As the cases make their way through the legal system, Harry's visits to Britain are now as likely to be tied to courtroom dates as to royal ceremonies like the coronation of his father, King Charles III, which he attended last month.

Before the coronation, the last time Harry, who left Britain in 2020, came to the country was in March to appear in court, alongside the pop star Elton John, in a case against the publisher of the Daily Mail on charges of tapping his cellphone. He is also suing Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers for hacking and other privacy violations.

For Harry, who now largely supports himself, the litigation has been expensive and time-consuming. People who know him say he did not expect, when he brought the suits, that they would take so many years. Fighting the tabloids has not helped his image in Britain, where his popularity has already been tarnished by his bitter split with his father and older brother, William.

But the court appearances give him a platform to press what he has cast as one of his life's missions: curbing the excesses of the tabloids, which he and Meghan have accused of upending people's lives "for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue."

Mark Landler

To fully prevail in his case, Prince Harry will have to convince the judge, Timothy Fancourt, that Mirror Group Newspapers hacked his cellphone to intercept his voice mail messages, as well as using other unlawful means to gather information. Proving hacking could be a high bar, given that more than a decade has passed since the Mirror articles Harry cites were published.

In a filing, lawyers for Harry wrote that he had often experienced "suspicious" activity on his cellphone, including missed calls or hangups, from numbers that he did not recognize or that were concealed. He also recalled listening to voice mail messages that appeared in his inbox but were not listed as new messages. But the lawyers said he could not recall specific dates on which this activity occurred, given the passage of time.

The Mirror denies hacking Harry's phone, or those of the three other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, although it admitted in 2014 that it had hacked other public figures. It has acknowledged other types of unlawful information gathering, without specifying what they were, and said that they warranted some compensation to Harry and the other plaintiffs, although it is not clear what any restitution would be.

Lacking hard evidence of hacking, Harry's lawyers are relying heavily on inference. They have submitted as evidence 147 articles published by Mirror tabloids that contain information they claim could have been obtained only through illegal means because of the intimate nature of the material or because only a small circle of people knew about it. But the Mirror Group's lawyers counter that the details in those articles could have come from other legitimate sources.

Beyond the question of proof, the Mirror Group contends that Harry waited too long to file the lawsuit, noting that the misconduct was said to have occurred from 1991 to 2011. In Britain, privacy claims must generally be made within six years.

Megan Specia

That's a wrap on Prince Harry's first day in court. Defense lawyers still have questions about around 10 of the 33 articles submitted as part of his claim. Tomorrow, he will again take the stand and answer questions, which will likely last for much of the day.

Megan Specia

Harry said that a number of details in an article from The People, which is owned by the Mirror Group, made him suspicious of hacking or other unlawful means. It cited a comment from Ms. Davy supposedly made to another flyer while she traveled to England in 2005.

Harry said that "bearing in mind the level of intrusion" into their private lives, "I don't believe that my girlfriend would ever have spoken to a passenger on a plane about our relationship."

Megan Specia

Prince Harry, speaking about a Daily Mirror article about a trip to Mozambique by him and his then-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, said he had fears that "flight blagging" — involving lies or unlawful means — had been used to obtain details about the couple's travel details reported in the piece.

Megan Specia

Harry pointed out in his testimony that one article had started with reports of a "tongue lashing down the phone" by Ms. Davy over a party at which he was said to have been spotted with another girl.

Megan Specia

"I have no idea how anyone would know that," Harry said of the information, which he said could have been obtained by hacking his friend's phone. Asked why that friend had not been called to give evidence, Harry replied, "I would want to spare most of my friends from this experience."

Jenny Gross

Much of Harry's case against Mirror Group Newspapers focuses on leaked details about his relationship with his former girlfriend Chelsy Davy, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur whom he dated on-and-off from early 2004 until mid-2010.

In written testimony filed to the High Court in London on Tuesday, Harry said his and Ms. Davy's phones were repeatedly hacked while the two were dating. Harry and Ms. Davy, who were mostly in a long-distance relationship, would speak frequently by phone. Newspaper articles routinely mentioned private conversations between them that Mirror journalists would have not have been able to obtain other than through illicit means, he said.

Many of Harry's accusations relate to tabloid coverage of his breakup with Ms. Davy, who is now married and named Chelsy Yvonne Cutmore-Scott. One article that he cites as evidence said that Ms. Davy gave him "a tongue-lashing down the phone" for flirting with another woman at a party. The details about their phone communications were not attributed to any sources, Harry said in the written testimony.

A second article described "an emotional phone call" in which Ms. Davy asked Harry for a trial separation. In another, a journalist reported that Harry had "slammed the phone down" on his father, Charles, after an argument about Ms. Davy.

"I trusted Chelsy with the most private of information," he said in the statement. He remembered frequently seeing missed calls that he later came to believe were a sign of hacking.

Harry also said that he was at a "complete loss" as to how private details were obtained of his and Ms. Davy's vacations off the coast of Mozambique, and that journalists and photographers would arrive at their hotel even before they did. He said the two of them were never on their own, away from "the prying eyes of the tabloids," which badly strained their relationship and was "the main factor" in why they decided to end it.

"We could also never understand how private elements of our life together were finding their way into the tabloids, and so our circle of friends became smaller and smaller," he said. "I remember finding it very hard to trust anyone, which led to bouts of depression and paranoia," adding that he regrets cutting friends out of his life because he feared they had been sources of leaks.

Lawyers for the publisher have argued that most of Harry's claims related to articles published from 1991 to 2011 and lie well beyond the six-year time limit that generally applies to legal complaints of privacy violations. One of the company's lawyers, Andrew Green, also said in court on Tuesday that "there was no need for the Daily Mirror journalists to use unlawful means" because information about Harry had been published by other news outlets, an assertion that Harry challenged.

Megan Specia

The defense has moved on to exploring a series of articles that revealed private details of Prince Harry's relationship with Chelsy Davy, his Zimbabwe-born girlfriend in the early 2000s, which were submitted as part of his case.

Megan Specia

The prince has previously said that press intrusion damaged their relationship, and their deeply personal information was splashed across the tabloids for years.

Megan Specia

Harry has taken some broader shots at Britain's tabloid press throughout this hearing, particularly as the defense has used reports from other publications to try to shore up its stance that details in the Mirror articles were not unlawfully obtained.

Megan Specia

Asked about an article by a royals reporter at a different publication, Harry responded, "Given some of his stories, they must be imaginary sources."

"Sometimes the source is real, and sometimes the reporters completely make it up," Prince Harry later added of coverage of the royal family.

Megan Specia

Attention has turned to an article that included private details of a disagreement between Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, about a proposed meeting with Paul Burrell, who served as a butler to their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Megan Specia

Prince Harry's side argued in his claim against the Mirror Group that they believed details in an article published in The People (owned by the Mirror Group) could have been lifted directly from a voicemail that Harry had left William.

Megan Specia

"This type of article seeds distrust between brothers," Harry said in court on Tuesday during questioning.

Megan Specia

With much of the defense's current argument turning on the issue off whether the details in the articles flagged by Prince Harry's legal team were obtained by unlawful means, the defense lawyer, Andrew Green, is trying to draw lines between those and similar (but not identical) contemporaneous reports.

Megan Specia

Mr. Green told Prince Harry that while there was much sympathy for him over how troubling press intrusion into his life had been, "It doesn't necessarily follow from that that it was the result of unlawful activity."

"I understand," Harry said, but added that "the unlawful activity makes it worse."

Megan Specia

Court is now back in session, and Harry is facing more tough questioning from the defense team on a series of articles that date to his early adult years, some of which were reported by Jane Kerr, a former royals editor for the Mirror, who will be appearing in court later this week.

Megan Specia

One Daily Mirror article in question included details about his 18th birthday, and Prince Harry's team maintain that it was linked to unlawful newsgathering. The defense's lawyer, Andrew Green, pointed to other stories published days earlier, including an interview with Harry, which included many of the same details as the Mirror article that the prince had submitted as evidence.

Megan Specia

"Private information about which you complain the Mirror article reported had been revealed by you in an interview and then published in several Sunday papers," Mr. Green said.

"I see the similarities, of course," Prince Harry replied, but then said that article appeared to be linked to an invoice that indicated unauthorized news gathering.

Megan Specia

The court is now breaking for lunch, and will return this afternoon, when the defense will presumably continue examining the articles contained in Prince Harry's claim. They include reports about his relationship with Chelsy Davy, which Harry has previously said broke down in part because of tabloid press coverage.

Megan Specia

In relation to stories about drug use, the defense lawyer asked whether Prince Harry believed that reports about Harry — who at the time was third in line to the British throne — "breaking the law" was a subject of public interest.

Prince Harry pointedly replied: "There's a difference between public interest and what interests the public."

Mark Landler

The thrust of the defense's case is becoming clear: The Mirror Group's lawyer is challenging Harry to provide specific evidence of phone hacking in articles he's cited as using illegally obtained information.

Mark Landler

Harry often defaults to generalities, like replying that the lawyer should ask the reporter behind the story. Or that there was no other way the journalist could have found out.

Mark Landler

This moves the case to more challenging ground for Harry: from a general critique of the tabloid press, which draws widespread public sympathy, to a specific point-by-point discussion of his hacking accusations, which are harder to prove.

Megan Specia

In trying to refute Prince Harry's claim that a story about his drug taking may have come from unlawful means, the defense's lawyer, Andrew Green said it actually reflected palace cooperation on these stories with some tabloids.

Megan Specia

Mr. Green is reading out passages from Prince Harry's memoir, "Spare," to argue that the details included in at least one story in his case against the Mirror Group may have come from the Palace "playing ball" with the tabloid press, using his own words against him.

Megan Specia

After about two hours of questioning Prince Harry, the strategy of Andrew Green, a lawyer for Mirror Group Newspapers, appears to be centered on showing that information that the prince claims was illegally obtained was in fact available by legal means.

Much of Mr. Green's cross-examination on Tuesday morning focused on the content of 33 articles submitted by Prince Harry's lawyers that they said contained information that was most likely gathered unlawfully. One article included information about Harry's having broken a finger while in school and details attributed to a doctor.

"Those sorts of things instill paranoia in a young man" who may need to use medical services and "who feels he can't trust the doctors," Harry said.

But Mr. Green pressed Harry on whose phone the prince thought might have been hacked to obtain the information. Harry replied that he didn't know, but possibly a doctor's.

"Are we not in the realm of total speculation?" Mr. Green asked.

"No," Harry responded, adding: "I’m not the one who wrote the article, so you will have to ask the journalist who wrote the article."

Harry's team is focused on proving how specific details in the articles — as well as payments to those known to be taking part in illegal activities — show that they were the result of unlawful information gathering. His lawyers say only the journalists responsible for the articles — most of whom will not be questioned in court — could explain how the information was collected.

But Mr. Green's questioning suggested that the defense would focus on challenging Harry to provide specific evidence of phone hacking, and argued that some details the prince submitted as evidence could have come from other sources or had already been published by other news outlets.

Referring to one of the articles, Mr. Green asked Harry: "There was no need for the Daily Mirror journalists to use unlawful means, as the information had already been published by other publications, correct?"

Harry replied that "only some of the information in the article was already in the public domain."

Mr. Green also seemed to be arguing that Harry was making the Mirror Group a scapegoat for his longstanding animosity toward the press for intruding on his life. Harry's lawyers, of course, deny this.

Jenny Gross

Some of the highest-profile claims of phone hacking by British tabloids were settled a decade ago, during an eight-month case against former editors of the now-defunct News of the World. But other claims are still outstanding, and Harry's current case against another publisher, Mirror Group Newspapers, is the latest in more than a decade of legal efforts to hold the tabloids accountable for illegal news-gathering tactics.

In 2011, The Guardian newspaper revealed that tabloid journalists had hacked into the voice mail of a teenager, Milly Dowler, who was abducted in 2002 and found dead. A public outcry prompted Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, to close The News of the World, which had once been the best-selling Sunday paper in Britain.

The revelations prompted a high-profile parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking and other illegal practices that produced a nearly 2,000-page report recommending a new system of press regulation.

A trial in 2013 and 2014 further illustrated — in great detail — the lengths that British tabloids would go for a scoop: paying large sums for celebrity news, bribing public officials for information and hacking the voice mail messages of royals, sports stars and celebrities. Andy Coulson, a top editor at The News of the World, was found guilty of illegally intercepting voice mail messages and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was released in November 2014 after serving five months.

But Rebekah Brooks, Mr. Coulson's predecessor, was acquitted of all charges in the hacking scandal.

Fallout from the scandal cost Mr. Murdoch's British publishing business more than 1 billion pounds, according to an investigation by Press Gazette, a British trade magazine.

The accusations against tabloids owned by the Mirror Group by Harry and three other plaintiffs relate to the hacking of his cellphone by journalists from 1991 to 2011. While The Mirror admitted in 2014 to having engaged in phone backing, lawyers for the parent company, the Mirror Group, say that the current case should be thrown out because the plaintiffs waited too long to sue.

Mark Landler

Harry's witness statement swings from a general call for press reform to a deeply personal feud with Piers Morgan, who edited the Daily Mirror and has become a virulent critic.

Mark Landler

He accuses Morgan of "horrific personal attacks" on him and Meghan, which he claims are calculated to make him "back down, before being able to hold him properly accountable for his unlawful activity towards both me and my mother during his editorship."

Mark Landler

Harry, in his statement, broadens his critique of the press to encompass Britain's government: "At the moment, our country is judged globally by the state of our press and our government — both of which I believe are at rock bottom." Rare for a member of the royal family to wade so obviously into politics.

Mark Landler

Harry's witness statement is a sad reflection of how his life has changed. Of his now estranged brother, William, he writes, "We naturally discussed personal aspects of our lives as we trusted each other with the private information we shared."

Megan Specia

Throughout the questioning, Harry has been softly spoken but confident, despite the references to a number of documents and articles.

Megan Specia

When the lawyer for the defense asked whether the prince's references to specific invoices included in his claim were intended to suggest that certain articles had involved unlawful information gathering, Harry responded that they were "highly suspicious invoices" and pointed to "missed calls and other dropped calls" that raised a suspicion of unlawful activity linked to the articles submitted to the court.

Megan Specia

Andrew Green, the defense lawyer who has been questioning Harry this morning, is a King's Counsel, a senior trial lawyer recognized for excellence. Although such lawyers are now selected by a senior panel rather than being directly appointed by the monarch as in past eras, in theory it means that a lawyer recognized by King Charles III is now grilling the monarch's son.

The New York Times

Before Prince Harry took the stand to answer questions in his lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers on Tuesday, his legal team filed a written statement to the High Court in London that lays out his version of the facts of the case.

Megan Specia

Despite the intensity of the questioning, Prince Harry appears to be in good spirits. The questioning by Andrew Green, the defense lawyer, is currently focused on a story published by the Mirror Group Newspapers in 1996 that detailed Harry's upset over the ill health of a close former employee of the royal family.

"It had been reported in the press at the time," Mr. Green said of the man's illness.

"Doesn't necessarily mean it's true," Harry interjected back swiftly with a smile.

Jenny Gross

In addition to Harry, the plaintiffs in the case also include two actors, Michael Turner and Nikki Sanderson, who appeared in the popular British television series "Coronation Street," a soap opera set in Manchester, England. The fourth plaintiff is Fiona Wightman, the ex-wife of the comedian Paul Whitehouse.

The claims of Ms. Sanderson, who played Candice Stowe in "Coronation Street" from 1999 to 2005, relate to the decade leading up to 2009, while the claims of Mr. Turner, whose stage name is Michael Le Vell and who has appeared on "Coronation Street" since 1983, and Ms. Wightman relate to the 21-year period leading up to 2011. A representative for Ms. Sanderson declined to comment.

Harry, Ms. Sanderson, Mr. Turner and Ms. Wightman said that Mirror Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Mirror tabloid, had hacked into voice mail messages and used other illicit information-gathering techniques. The plaintiffs said that information about them had been published for which there was no legitimate explanation of how it would have been obtained other than hacking.

Invoices to the Sunday Mirror and The Daily Mirror with the names of the plaintiffs on them are included as evidence in the case. According to court documents, the publishing of private information in Mirror Group tabloids caused Ms. Wightman, who was of interest to the news media because of her marriage to Mr. Whitehouse, to feel isolated and paranoid.

"Where historical wrongdoing has taken place, we have made admissions, take full responsibility and apologize unreservedly, but we will vigorously defend against allegations of wrongdoing where our journalists acted lawfully," a spokesman for Mirror Group said.

Megan Specia

In his testimony so far, Prince Harry is coming across as measured and precise while being grilled by the lawyer for the defense. Asked by the lawyer who he believed had "blood on their hands," a reference to an earlier statement about distress caused by articles published, Harry replied that "some editors and journalists do have blood on their hands" for causing distress and "perhaps, inadvertently death."

Megan Specia

Prince Harry looked toward the judge at one point with emotion apparent on his face and in his voice.

Megan Specia

Asked about when he remembers first reading an article cited in the case that was published when he was 12, Prince Harry says he can't recollect reading it at the time.

"If you don't have any recollection of reading the article at the time, how do you say that this particular article has caused you stress?" asks Andrew Green, the lawyer for the defense.

Megan Specia

"I was a child, I was at school," Prince Harry replied. "These articles were incredibly invasive, and every single time one was written it had an effect on my life and the people around me, my mother in this case."

Pressed again, he added, "I would be lying if I said I could remember specifically reading this article when I was 12 years old."

Megan Specia

"Do you not have hostility toward the press?" Mr. Green asked. "I was trying to answer your question," Prince Harry replied.

"Would it be right to say you have a longstanding hostility toward the press because of its intrusion into your life," Mr. Green rephrased.

"Yes, that is correct," Prince Harry replied.

Megan Specia

The lead defense lawyer for the Mirror Group, Andrew Green, is now questioning Prince Harry. He began his questioning by telling the court and the prince that the Mirror had apologized for one instance of unlawful information gathering already. He then told the prince that if other unlawful activity is found,"You will be entitled to, and you will receive, a more extensive apology."

Megan Specia

Harry is now taking the stand as the only witness for his claim. "My name is Prince Harry," he says when asked to give his full name, and then pledges on a Bible to tell the truth.

Megan Specia

Harry has submitted his written testimony to court laying out his claim, which we should receive shortly and will share when we can. He will now be questioned by the defense's lead lawyer.

Megan Specia

Prince Harry is seated with his team of lawyers and expected to testify today and tomorrow — depending on how long his cross-examination takes. The proceedings are about to get underway, and the judge, Timothy Fancourt, has just entered the courtroom.

Jenny Gross

Prince Harry is expected to testify in a London courtroom on Tuesday in one of three cases that he has filed against Britain's tabloid publishers. It is the latest chapter in a long, bitter dispute that he and his wife, Meghan, have with British newspapers over privacy rights.

The case, which began in May, concerns accusations of phone hacking at three papers: The Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The Sunday People.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex and younger son of King Charles III, alleges that journalists at the three tabloids gained access to his voice mail messages and used other illicit methods to obtain information about him from 1996 to 2011.

On May 10, the publisher of The Mirror admitted unlawfully gathering information on Harry in one instance and apologized. However, the publisher denied that its journalists had hacked into Harry's voice mail messages and said that too much time had passed since the intrusions, which should prevent the case from proceeding.

Piers Morgan, the television host who was the editor of The Mirror during some of the years that the case involves, has also denied wrongdoing.

Harry has chosen to testify rather than seek an out-of-court settlement as other royals have done in various cases as they sought to avoid courtroom scrutiny. The prince has said he holds the tabloids responsible for the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in 1997 after she was pursued by photographers. In his tell-all memoir, "Spare," published in January, Harry described the trauma that intrusive tabloid coverage has caused him.

All three of Harry's current lawsuits against British tabloids involve periods before he met his wife, the American actress Meghan Markle, in 2016. Since their relationship began, his feud with the British press has escalated as tabloids churned out sensationalized coverage of Meghan.

The couple has won significant sums of money as part of numerous lawsuits, including a settlement in 2021, when a judge ruled that The Mail on Sunday had invaded Meghan's privacy by publishing a letter she wrote to her estranged father in 2018, four months after she married Harry.

Megan Specia

Prince Harry has just arrived in court, accompanied by his lawyer, David Sherborne. He is due to start testimony in just under an hour.

Mark Landler

Daniel Taylor, a lawyer whose firm represents another of the plaintiffs, said that Harry was "likely to be subjected to rigorous and sustained cross-examination" by lawyers representing Mirror Group.

That could prove embarrassing, given that the hacking took place during the years before Harry met his wife, Meghan, when he was single and involved in sometimes turbulent relationships.

Megan Specia

The members of the legal team representing Prince Harry and the other claimants in the case against Mirror Group Newspapers are accustomed to high-profile cases. Most visible among them is the lawyer leading the arguments in the courtroom, David Sherborne — a well-known and respected lawyer who has long attracted celebrity clients and who has taken on Britain's tabloid press several times before.

He is the lead counsel in two of Prince Harry's actions currently being considered by Britain's High Courts: the case against Mirror Group and Harry's case against Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers.

Mr. Murdoch's News Group publishes the Sun tabloid, and Prince Harry is suing the company on accusations of phone hacking and other unlawful acts, which the organization, much like Mirror Group, denies.

Mr. Sherborne is intimately familiar with how the British tabloid press previously obtained information unlawfully for news stories, having represented phone-hacking victims in the Leveson inquiry. That public inquiry and 2012 report examined the culture, practices and ethics of the British press after the phone hacking uncovered at publications owned by Mr. Murdoch.

Mr. Sherborne also represented Harry's mother, Diana; Tony Blair; and Donald J. Trump in media-related cases, as well as celebrities including Paul McCartney, Michael Douglas, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, Elton John and Harry Styles.

Mr. Sherborne recently represented Johnny Depp in the actor's libel action against Mr. Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, which he lost, and Coleen Rooney, the wife of Wayne Rooney, in a libel case, which she won.

Megan Specia

A large number of journalists and a few members of the public have gathered outside the High Court in London, awaiting Prince Harry's first day of testimony in the case against Mirror Group Newspapers, set to begin in less than two hours. Today and tomorrow he is expected to give testimony and be cross-examined.

Megan Specia

Among those waiting in line outside the courtroom are a young Australian man who is currently traveling around Europe and decided to stop by the court, and a handful of locals who rose early in hopes of having a look. They are currently debating the future of the monarchy in the Commonwealth.

Mark Landler and Megan Specia

LONDON — Prince Harry finally got his day in court against Britain's tabloid press on Tuesday, taking the stand in London to accuse the Mirror newspaper group of hacking his cellphone more than a decade ago.

It was a striking, sometimes emotional spectacle: Harry, the younger son of King Charles III and the first prominent royal to testify in more than a century, declared that "some editors and journalists do have blood on their hands" because of the lengths to which Britain's tabloids often went to gather news about him, his mother, Princess Diana, and other famous figures.

But once the questioning of Harry got underway, the drama in the High Court took on the rhythms of any other legal proceeding. A lawyer for the Mirror Group, Andrew Green, pressed Harry for specific evidence that its journalists had hacked his cellphone. He argued that much of the information that Harry says was illegally obtained was available from other sources. The day ended with much ground still uncovered, and Harry is to return to the stand on Wednesday,

Harry, speaking quietly and in measured tones, stuck to his claim that the Mirror's journalists hacked his phone and those of people close to him. There was no other way, he said, that they could have discovered his whereabouts in certain situations, or the details of a schoolyard injury, without using illegal methods.

There were moments when Harry was able to make a broader point of principle about the conduct of the press. Asked by Mr. Green if the public had an interest in knowing about his youthful drug use, Harry shot back: "There's a difference between public interest and what interests the public."

He is expected to continue testifying on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday in a case that could result in further penalties for the newspapers more than a decade after their practice of hacking cellphones was first made public.

Here is what else to know:

Lawyers for Harry, one of four claimants in the case, began presenting their case on Monday. They told the court that the Mirror Group had intercepted Harry's voice mail messages, paid private investigators to gather information about him and employed photographers who used unlawful means to track his whereabouts and those of people close to him. The newspaper group's lawyers have argued that the bulk of this activity took place from 1991 to 2011, placing it well beyond the six-year time limit that generally applies to legal complaints of privacy violations.

Harry and Meghan are plaintiffs in no fewer than seven cases against the British tabloids and other news media organizations for phone hacking and other privacy violations. Harry has also filed two claims against Britain's Home Office related to the loss of his police protection during trips to his native country.

The practice of phone hacking by British tabloids was first revealed more than a decade ago and has prompted a parliamentary inquest, prison terms for multiple journalists, voluntary restrictions on newspapers and the closure of one tabloid, the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World, in 2011. But despite dozens of lawsuits, this is only the second hacking-related case to go to court.

Harry and Meghan, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, moved to California amid a split with his family, and to escape the glare of the British news media. But the couple has remained fodder for headlines, with the release of Harry's tell-all memoir; a Netflix documentary; and, last month, accusations that photographers pursued them as they rode through Midtown Manhattan in a taxi.

Megan Specia

Lawyers for Prince Harry laid out his case against the Mirror news group on Monday, forensically examining dozens of stories that appeared in its tabloids from 1996 to 2011 and offered intimate details of the prince's life. The stories were based on information, the lawyers charged, that had been gained through phone hacking and other illegal methods.

The lawyers spoke of a person hounded by the press from the time he was a young boy at school through the traumatic death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, to his late teenage years of dating and then over his time in the military.

A few members of the public, who had lingered outside the High Court in central London in the early hours of Monday to gain scarce spots for a glimpse of the case, looked on with rapt attention. And a gaggle of reporters prepared to cover what will be the first cross-examination of a member of the British royal family in 130 years.

But there was one notable absence on the first day Prince Harry's case was being made: Harry himself.

Although he was not scheduled to testify on the opening day, he had been expected to attend, and the presiding judge said that Harry's absence was a surprise. Harry's lawyers assured the court that he would be there to testify on Tuesday, having flown from California on Sunday evening after attending a birthday party for his daughter, Lilibet.

Harry's absence did not stop his legal team from dissecting dozens of articles, many offering intimate details of his personal life and using information that his lawyers asserted had been gathered by illegal means.

"Every facet of his life," said David Sherborne, the lawyer heading up the prince's legal team, "was splashed across the paper as an exclusive, a story too good not to publish."

Mr. Sherborne added: "There was no time in his life when he was safe from these activities. Nothing was sacrosanct or out of bounds, and there was no protection from these unlawful information gathering methods."

For the first half of Monday's proceedings, Mr. Sherbourne outlined the stories published when the prince was still in school and in the aftermath of his mother's death. For much of the afternoon, the court heard from Harry's lawyer about a series of articles that focused on his lengthy relationship with Chelsy Davy.

The relationship between the prince and Ms. Davy, who is originally from Zimbabwe, began when Harry was in his late teens and lasted through his early 20s — and dominated much of the tabloid press coverage from this time in his life.

"The ups and downs as there are in any relationship made it to the front page of the newspaper," Mr. Sherborne said. He cited numerous articles that he said showed signs of unlawful information gathering and potential phone hacking.

The articles included private details about their relationship, Mr. Sherborne said, and offered "telltale signs" of hacking, including the recounting of specifics of private calls. The prince has spoken openly in the past about how the relentless incursion by the tabloid press into his personal life had a detrimental impact on his mental health and, he believed, helped cause their breakup.

"Who wouldn't forgive him for being protective, as he grew up, of future relationships?" Mr. Sherborne asked in court on Monday.

Claire Moses

Prince Harry's expected testimony on Tuesday in a phone-hacking case will be the first time in over 130 years that a prominent member of Britain's royal family is cross-examined in court.

The last time it happened was in 1891, and it didn't go well for the royal family.

Prince Albert Edward — Queen Victoria's eldest son, who went on to become King Edward VII in 1901 — testified as a witness in a slander case that centered on a game of baccarat gone wrong at which the prince had been present.

One of the players, Sir William Gordon-Cumming, had been accused of cheating. The prince sided with the accusers, and Mr. Gordon-Cumming lost the case.

A local report from the time, as quoted in The Guardian, said that Edward's testimony had lasted about 20 minutes and that it had "wearied him exceedingly, and made him extremely nervous." The report also stated that he had been unable to sit still. It was unusual then, too, for such a prominent member of the royal family — the future king, no less — to appear in court.

"When a question more pressing, more to the point than usual, was put to him, the prince's face was observed to flush considerably, and then pale again," the report read.

Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal commentator, said: "You can see from reading this why it was subsequently decided that this is not something the royal family want. It showed you couldn't entirely shield even the son of the queen from cross-examination."

A book published in 1899 revealed a letter by Edward in which he denounced the scandal and expressed the "deep pain and annoyance" he experienced because of it.

"A recent trial, which no one deplores more than I do, and which I was powerless to prevent, gave occasion for the press to make most bitter and unjust attacks upon me, knowing I was defenseless," Edward wrote.

He continued, "The whole matter has now died out, and I think, therefore, that it would be inopportune for me in any public manner to allude again to the painful subject which has brought such a torrent of abuse upon me."

Edward's testimony in 1891 was not the first time that the future king had appeared in court. Two decades earlier, he had testified in the divorce case of Harriet Mordaunt, the wife of an English member of Parliament, who had named Edward as one of her lovers. (Edward denied it in court.) During that trial, Edward seemed to have been in the witness box for only a few minutes, Mr. Fitzwilliams said, and that appearance seemed to have had less of an impact on his reputation.

Edward — known as "Bertie" to the people close to him — had enjoyed a reputation of being a womanizer with a love for playing cards.

There are key differences between Harry's planned court appearance on Tuesday and Edward's appearances. Edward was called as a witness both times he appeared in court, while Harry is one of the plaintiffs, meaning that he probably knew that cross-examination was in his future.

Furthermore, while Harry is a high-profile member of the royal family, he is no longer a working royal. And he has never been first in line to the throne, unlike Edward, who was the crown prince. Still, if the questions trip Harry up, it could be embarrassing, experts said.

"There won't be the safety net that he's had with various interviews," Mr. Fitzwilliams, the royal commentator, said.

Not all of the press was unfriendly to Edward in 1891. In an article about the last day of testimony in the baccarat slander case, The New York Times wrote that he had been "affable as ever" and "faultlessly dressed."

Edward was king for only nine years. In 1910, he died of pneumonia, leaving the throne to his son George V.

The Nazi uniform. Getting naked in Las Vegas. Harry's Afghanistan tours. Harry's former girlfriends. When Harry met Meghan. Read Document