Tuesday June 6, 2023 – Prince Harry launched an extraordinary attack on the UK Government as he became the first British royal to testify in open court since 1891 amid Mirror publisher hacking case.
The Duke of Sussex lambasted No 10 as part of his historic appearance in the witness box at the High Court in London on Tuesday morning, June 5.
Harry, wearing a navy suit and dark purple tie, entered the witness box and swore an oath to tell the truth on the Bible.
Trashing the convention that royals avoid meddling in politics, Harry raged about the ‘state of our press and our government – both of which I believe are at rock bottom’.
The fifth in line to the throne has become the first senior royal to give evidence in one of the Monarch’s courts in 132 years, as he sues the Mirror’s publisher for alleged hacking, which it denies.
Harry used his pulpit beneath the High Court coat of arms of his father the Sovereign to claim:
Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell was a ‘two-faced s***’
Stories about James Hewitt being his ‘biological father’ made him fear ‘I might be ousted from the Royal Family’
He worried he would be expelled from Eton for taking drugs
Diana’s supposed paranoia mirrored his own fears of friends betraying him
Journalists hacked his girlfriend Chelsy Davey after he dressed as a fancy-dress Nazi
‘Horrific personal attacks and intimidation’ on him and Meghan were allegedly made by former editor Piers Morgan
He is exposing media ‘criminality’ for moral reasons and as ‘a soldier upholding important values’
In his attack on the British Press yet, Harry demanded: ‘How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness.’
The 38-year-old prince proclaimed he was motivated by wanting to ‘save journalism as a profession’.
During cross-examination today, Andrew Green KC, for MGN, asked Harry about part of his witness statement in which he states: ‘How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness.’
Mr. Green asked if the duke meant ‘blood on their hands’ in relation to a specific article, and further asked him what he meant by it.
Harry said: ‘Some of the editors and journalists that are responsible for causing a lot of pain, upset and in some cases, speaking personally, death.’
He then said his reference to ‘blood on their hands’ was ‘more broadly towards the press’ in general, adding: ‘I haven’t named the journalists in that particular paragraph.’
Many of his bombshell remarks were in a written witness statement, which he had prepared in advance and swore on oath was true. It was released as he took the stand.
An usher handed him a bible and asked him to hold it in a raised hand.
She asked him to repeat after her: ‘I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’
He was then asked by his barrister David Sherborne to confirm he would like to be referred to as Prince Harry. He asked him to view his 55-page witness statement, check his signature and confirm its truthfulness.
The duke’s statement included a wide-ranging attack on the Mirror group’s newspapers, the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and The People, which he claims intruded into his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
He claims he and his mother Princess Diana were both hacked, along with his family, friends, and royal aides.
Prince Harry started giving his evidence at the High Court today for his phone hacking trial against the publisher of the Daily Mirror – becoming the first royal to testify in open court since 1891.
Harry and three others are suing the Mirror group claiming the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and The People newspaper hacked their phones or conducted other illegal activity, which is denied.
Harry recounts the infamous time in 2005 he dressed as a Nazi – while not using the word Nazi.
He says there was ‘a lot of press coverage of me at the time, as I had attended a fancy dress party’.
Harry, who was 20 at the time, triggered a storm of outrage when a picture was published in The Sun of his him wearing the outfit complete with a swastika on his arm to a ‘native and colonial’ party. He said it was a ‘poor choice of costume’ and he was ‘very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone’. In his memoir Spare, he claimed that Prince William and Kate encouraged him to wear the distasteful Nazi soldier costume.
In the statement to the court, he said: ‘It was a challenging period for me. I had been immature, I hadn’t really thought about my actions and I had made a stupid decision.’ But he complained about the Press: ‘My mistakes were being played out publicly.’
Harry alleges the Mirror, which had followed up the Sun’s story, must have used hacking because it reported his girlfriend Chelsy Davy ‘was furious and had given me a ‘tongue-lashing down the phone’ following allegations that I had been flirting with a brunette at the party’. The duke said: ‘How could the Defendant’s journalists know about this?’
The last royal in the witness box was Edward VII in 1891 who gave evidence when a slander action was brought by a card player accused of cheating at baccarat at a time when gambling was illegal.