Key Takeaways From Prince Harry's Second Day In The Witness Box

At one point, the Duke of Sussex appealed directly to the judge about the press "misleading" him.
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, waves as he arrives to the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on June 7, 2023.
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, waves as he arrives to the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on June 7, 2023.
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images

Prince Harry was up on the witness stand at London’s High Court for the second day in a row on Wednesday, as part of the ongoing case against the Mirror Group Newspapers.

The Duke of Sussex, along with around 100 other claimants, are alleging the newspaper publisher used unlawful means to obtain personal information about them for stories.

Only four of these claimants are giving evidence, but this is a test case meaning if the claimants win, it will set a precedent for the judge to decide how much the publisher might have to pay in damages for other cases.

In total, Harry has given evidence for eight hours.

Recap from day one

Harry’s witness statement was revealed on Tuesday.

In his statement, he explained how he felt the media had intruded on his life since birth and that he was suspicious of how certain details about his personal life – including information on those close to him like ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy – made it into news articles published by MGN.

Cross-examined by the Mirror’s barrister Andrew Green KC, the pair went through 21 of the 33 articles submitted for the case, which the royal’s legal team say include details of unlawful information gathering.

Green questioned Harry over how distressing he had found certain articles, often pointing to other publications which had published the private information in question first. He also suggested that sources within the Palace may have been behind leaks.

The Duke of Sussex maintained that it was “suspicious” how various details ended up in the press because he and those close to him had not spoken about certain topics.

He also said he had lost friends over worries that they were leaking information to the press, mentioned concerns his mother and father may have been hacked and claimed the government was “in bed” with the media.

Harry’s second day of cross-examination

1. A couple of tense moments

The Mirror’s barrister Andrew Green KC tried to go straight into business first thing on Wednesday morning, beginning: “Prince Harry, we are now on the 22nd article...”

Harry cut in, saying: “Good morning, Mr Green.”

A short while later, after the royal spent a brief moment chatting directly to the judge, Green pointedly said: “Could I ask the questions?”

This happened throughout the day. At one point, Harry said: “Are you suggesting that while I was in the army that everything was available for the press to write about?”

Green replied: “Can I just repeat this isn’t about you asking me questions, it’s about me asking you questions.”

Harry also joked about being “quite busy with other litigations” in reference to his other civil cases against other publishers when asked about details of stories published in the Daily Record and the Daily Star (neither of whom he is pursuing legal action against).

2. Harry admitted going through articles is still ‘distressing’

Looking at a story from 2005 in The People about his time training for the army at Sandhurst (reporters said he had been allowed not to go on the five-mile marches because of knee injuries), Harry said it was “somewhat distressing” looking at it again with his lawyers.

He said: “Most of the articles I don’t remember seeing. Most of them were equally distressing then and more distressing today going trough the process.”

3. Harry said he was ‘conditioned’ to feel guarded

In his witness statement, Harry said reports about injuries delaying the start of his military career suggested that he had been getting “special treatment” – even though he was “not going freely discussing any medical issues or injuries that I had”.

While the Mirror barrister argued that details of Harry’s injuries were already in the public domain, the royal said that was not the case, because he was “almost conditioned to feel guarded” out of fear details would be splashed on tabloids’ front pages.

Harry also said only a “life threatening injury” would have been in the public interest.

4. Harry said ‘risk was worth the reward’ when it came to Royal Family’s privacy

Green said the conviction of two News Of The World journalists over phone-hacking may have shown other journalists that there was “enormous risk” in targeting royals.

Harry replied saying he believes the “risk was worth the reward” for publishers and that the Palace thought it was a “one-off event”. He also alleged that “no one knew it was hacking” at the time.

5. Harry would feel ‘injustice’ if unsuccessful in the case

Green asked if Harry thought the “absence of call data” would mean he wasn’t hacked – but the royal denied this.

The Duke was asked if he would feel “relieved or disappointed” if the court did not find evidence of phone hacking from MGN.

Harry said: “I believe that phone hacking was at an industrial scale across at least three papers at that time and that is beyond doubt.

“To have a decision against me and any other people that come behind me with their claims given that Mirror Group have admitted hacking... yes, I would feel some injustice.”

Asked if he wanted to have been hacked, Harry added that “nobody wants to have been hacked”.

6. Harry said time passed since article’s publication doesn’t mean distress is lessened

The royal admitted that “like most” of the articles in court, he can’t remember when he first read them – but said: “If that’s to suggest the distress was somehow reduced it certainly wasn’t and hasn’t been.”

It’s worth remembering plenty of these articles were published when Harry was still a child or teenager.

Harry then interrupted the barrister when he tried to move onto another question, saying one article’s scoop would have “incentivised any reporter at the time” to get more detail. He then apologised for cutting in.

7. Duke said it was ‘hurtful’ to see his break-up with Chelsy Day apparently being celebrated

Touching on one particular article, Harry said: “‘Hooray Harry’s Dumped’ was hurtful to say the least that such a private moment was turned into a bit of a laugh.”

While the Mirror’s lawyer said it was not a sign of celebration (and that “Hooray Harry” was, in fact, a newspaper nickname for him), Harry claimed: “The level of surveillance I was under was quite something.”

He also queried the origin of reports about their relationship, saying he found it “incredibly suspicious” that information was attributing to a Palace source, because he “never discussed any details with the Palace” about the relationship.

He disagreed when Green said this was all “total speculation”.

Harry also said that the couple had never confirmed to anyone outside their friendship group that they had broken up.

8. Harry felt stories meant his relationship was ‘always set to be doomed’

Discussing a story from November 2007, which talked about a “secret meeting” between the royal and his ex-girlfriend, Harry said in his witness statement he felt this was a sign his relationship was always “set to be doomed”.

He also doubted that journalists had gathered information about their breakup from Davy supposedly changing her Facebook relationship status to “not in a relationship”.

“If indeed that was what happened. I doubt she did that at that time, my lord,” he said.

9. Harry was ‘livid’ when photographers saw him with Caroline Flack

He said in his witness statement that he was “so shocked – and livid” that photographers knew where he was with the late TV presenter, and claimed they were “waiting for us to arrive” and “hiding underneath a car”.

“These photographers became known to me as there were numerous highly suspicious, and often dangerous, incidents involving them,” he said.

10. Harry claimed ‘this hearing is as distressing for my ex as me’

Harry referenced a story from 2009 about his relationship with Davy, saying: “This is a past girlfriend who now has her own family and this process is as distressing for her as it is for me.”

11. William and Harry stopped speaking to a friend over leaks

In his witness statement, Harry explained how photographers found him on a night out with Caroline Flack and his friend “Marko”.

He said: “We just couldn’t understand how stories about us meeting privately with him ended up in the papers, or how photographers would end up outside his apartment.”

12. Harry alleged that evidence has been ‘destroyed’

Queried over whose phones he thinks were targeted for articles, he responded: “I’m not sure because the evidence has been destroyed.”

He later said this idea came from his legal team.

13. Davy would not be behind ‘violating’ leaks

After citing three suspicious calls made by journalists from MGN to Davy’s phone the day before their 2009 split was reported, Harry said: “Chelsy would not have given her number to any journalist, let alone speak to them.

“Seeing the call data in black and white just makes me realise how much the defendant’s journalists would have heard. It’s violating.”

He also said he “highly doubts” Chelsy’s friends were behind the leaks.

“I would not have told anyone if I was calling Chelsy regularly and given the way Chelsy has also been guarded with who she tells information to, I have no idea who the ‘close pal’ could be that the defendant’s journalists are attributing some of the information to,” the Duke said.

14. Harry explained how his case came about

He said he bumped into his lawyer David Sherborne in France in 2018, which made him realise he might have a phone hacking case. He claimed he hadn’t sought advice before, adding: “I’d never been shown anything, it was all contained by the Palace. Even if I had wanted to, I wouldn’t have been allowed to.”

He said that he was looking for a way to deal with the “abuse, intrusion, hate” he and his wife faced at the time, and didn’t want to rely on the Palace’s lawyer.

But, when pushed about specific messages that he remembers being left on voicemail making its way into a story, Harry said: “I can’t remember specific voicemails.”

Harry said his phone “could have been” hacked on a daily basis, but didn’t know for sure.

15. Harry claimed hacking started with the Mirror Group

Harry said there is “hard evidence” which points to an “incredible amount of suspiciousness”.

He added: “I believe phone hacking started at the Mirror Group.”

Harry’s re-examination by his own lawyer

The royal was briefly questioned by Sherborne over his own evidence and claims from the MGN barrister. After questioning, Harry sat down next to his own solicitors to hear from the remaining witnesses.

The Duke of Sussex, left, with his counsel David Sherborne
The Duke of Sussex, left, with his counsel David Sherborne
Elizabeth Cook/PA

1. Harry said he thought journalists had gone to ‘extreme lengths to cover their tracks’

His lawyer David Sherbourne asked Harry about how he thought “burner phones” were used for the alleged phone-hacking – and how the royal thought the subsequent call data was then deleted.

The Duke added: “I believe they would have gone to extreme lengths to cover their tracks.”

2. Harry found a tracking device on Chelsy’s car

Harry claims that it was placed by a private investigator Mike Behr (Harry has made allegations against him before). The royal also said his friend Mark Dyer found a tracking device on his car, too.

3. Harry said his case is ‘not total speculation’

The Mirror lawyer said repeatedly that Harry’s claims are “in the realm of total speculation”, but speaking to his own lawyer Sherborne, Harry said that he does not think this is true.

“It is even more destructive that it was used as a headline I think this morning [in the newspapers] against me,” he said, referring to new front pages published on Wednesday.

4. Harry appealed directly to judge

Harry said: “My lord, my whole life the press have misled me, covered up their wrongdoing.

“To be sitting here in court knowing that the defence has the evidence in front of them and [MGN lawyer Andrew] Green saying I’m speculating... I’m not entirely sure what to say about that.”

5. Harry and William were wary of certain paparazzi photographers

Mentioning photo agency IKON Pictures, Harry claimed they were “well known” to him and his security, adding: “My whole security team, as well as my brother’s, suspected unlawful activity.”

He also accused some photographers from the agency of observing him at a pub, and then trying to “evade police” by speeding away when officers followed. He said this is “not normal paparazzi behaviour” and that his team think there was “some sort of illegal device in the vehicle”.

6. Harry reveals pressure of being in the witness stand

As the Duke’s unprecedented time in the witness box came to an end, Sherborne asked: “You’ve been sat in the witness box for over a day and a half, you’ve had to go through these articles and answer questions in a very public courtroom, knowing the media is watching. How has that made you feel?”

Harry paused, before answering: “It’s a lot.”


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