Harry, who has a long and troubled history with the British press, claims journalists used intrusive and unlawful tactics to produce tabloid fodder.
Prince Harry has testified at the High Court in London as part of a lawsuit against British newspaper publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).
During almost eight hours of questioning over two days, which ended on Wednesday, he repeatedly told the court that articles published in MGN titles were “incredibly suspicious” and bore “tell-tale signs” of unlawful activity.
The royal is one of more than a hundred people suing MGN, accusing the group of illegal moves from 1991 and 2011, including phone hacking on an “industrial scale” and obtaining private details by deception.
Senior editors and executives knew and approved of the behaviour, the claimants’ lawyers say.
Harry says that 140 stories that appeared in MGN papers were the result of phone hacking or other unlawful behaviour.
However, the trial is only considering 33 of these, which cover a roughly 15-year period of Harry’s life.
MGN contests the claims and denies senior figures were aware of wrongdoing. It also argues some of the lawsuits were brought too late.
The trial began last month and is due to last six to seven weeks.
What have Harry and his team said?
Not a ‘vendetta against the press’
The case is about doing the right thing, and not because of “some vendetta against the press”, his lawyer David Sherborne has said.
Alleged phone hacking sowed ‘seeds of discord’ in Harry’s personal life
His lawyers said the intrusion led to the breakdown of his relationship with a long-term girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, and that MGN had sown “the seeds of discord” in Harry’s relationship with his elder brother Prince William.
Harry said a tracking device had been found on Davy’s car and that he believed intimate details about their break-up and arguments – including of him visiting a strip club – had been obtained by phone hacking, saying they had not shared details of their private lives.
He described a 2007 article with the headline “Hooray Harry Dumped” as “hurtful to say the least”, and said it appeared to be “celebrating” the end of his relationship. Andrew Green, MGN’s lawyer, denied that claim.
‘Criminals’ should not be ‘masquerading as journalists’
“This isn’t just about phone hacking, this is about accountability of power,” Harry wrote in a statement as part of the MGN case. He said the press was too important to have “criminals masquerading as journalists running the show”.
Media’s list of stereotypes ‘goes on’
“You’re then either the ‘playboy prince’, the ‘failure’, the ‘dropout’ or, in my case, the ‘thicko’, the ‘cheat’, the ‘underage drinker’, the ‘irresponsible drinker’ the ‘irresponsible drug taker’, the list goes on”, Harry said, referring to the many ways he has been portrayed in the British press.
‘It’s a lot’
The media attention around the case has been ‘a lot’ for Prince Harry. When his lawyer David Sherborne asked him, “You have had to go through these articles and answer questions knowing this is a very public courtroom and the world’s media are watching. How has that made you feel?”
Harry exhaled and appeared emotional before replying: “It’s a lot.”