Prince Harry Accuses Royal Institution of “Withholding Information” from Him in Phone Hacking Case

london, united kingdom march 28 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 24 hours after create date and time prince harry, duke of sussex arrives at the royal courts of justice on march 28, 2023 in london, england prince harry is one of several claimants in a lawsuit against associated newspapers, publisher of the daily mail photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
Harry Says Royals Lied in Phone Hacking CaseMax Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Prince Harry, who is in London this week to deal with his ongoing lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, has submitted a witness statement in which he accuses the royal institution of hiding information from him about the case, and credits wife Meghan Markle with inspiring him to speak up.

Harry and other high-profile figures are suing the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday for illegal information gathering (in Harry's case, via phone hacking).

"Following the death of my mother in 1997 when I was 12 years old and her treatment at the hands of the press, I have always had an uneasy relationship with the press," he said, referring to his mother, Princess Diana, per People. "However, as a member of the Institution, the policy was to 'never complain, never explain.' There was no alternative; I was conditioned to accept it. For the most part, I accepted the interest in my performing my public functions."

Harry openly spoke of his royal family's tight-lip policy and their complicated relationship with the British press in his memoir, Spare. In the book, he revealed the royal households compete against each other for positive press—often at the expense of other members of the family. The duke also claimed the senior royals were not responsive when he voiced his concerns over Meghan's mental health due to the negative press against her, and discouraged them from seeking professional help.

In his witness statement, Harry said dating Meghan made him "increasingly troubled by the approach of not taking action against the press in the wake of vicious persistent attacks on, harassment of and intrusive, sometimes racist articles concerning Meghan." He added that "the situation got worse" when Meghan became pregnant with their first child, Prince Archie, and when the young prince was born, in May 2019.

Harry added that the institution did not disclose the full truth to him about his phone hacking incident with the British publisher, and it wasn't until he hired his own legal team that he learned the full extent of the privacy violation.

"The Institution was without a doubt withholding information from me for a long time about NGN's phone hacking and that has only become clear in recent years as I have pursued my own claim with different legal advice and representation," he said. "It is not an exaggeration to say that the bubble burst in terms of what I knew in 2020 when I moved out of the United Kingdom."

Harry and Meghan stepped back as senior members of the royal family in January 2020 and have since been living in California with their two children: Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

Harry added that his fight against Associated Newspapers is not just about him. "To this day, there are members of the Royal Family and friends of mine who may have been targeted by NGN and I have no idea whether they have or have not brought claims," he said. "There was never any centralised discussion between us about who had brought claims as each office in the Institution is siloed. There is this misconception that we are all in constant communication with one another but that is not true."

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