A Super-Simple Breakdown of Prince Harry’s Court Battle for Everyone in a State of Confusion

A Super-Simple Breakdown of Prince Harry’s Court Battle for Everyone in a State of Confusion

Prince Harry is currently in the middle of a court case against the publishers of the Daily Mirror (aka Mirror Group Newspapers), a pretty historic moment for the British royal family, and one that’s allegedly causing them some anxiety. The UK phone-hacking case is underway as of publication of this article, and not only has Harry taken the witness stand, he’s also provided 55 full pages of testimony detailing his thoughts on specific articles published by MGN papers.

Here’s what to know about the case as it unfolds.

prince harry gives evidence at the mirror group newspapers trial
Leon Neal - Getty Images

A Quick Primer on Prince Harry’s Claims

Prince Harry believes that MGN gathered information about him via illegal means—including phone hacking—when writing tabloid stories over the years spanning 1996 to 2010. But Harry is actually just one of several celebrities going up against the newspaper group in a weeks-long trial that began on May 10, per Reuters.

Harry said he noticed strange patterns with his voicemails over the years, saying per Entertainment Tonight, “I remember on multiple occasions hearing a voicemail for the first time that wasn’t new—I would simply put it down to perhaps a technical glitch...or even just having too many drinks the night before and having forgotten that I’d listened to it. I also distinctly remember people saying to me ‘Did you not get my voicemail?’ I was like, ‘No,’ and sometimes I would go back into my voicemail to look for it but still couldn’t find it.”

prince harry v mirror group newspapers at the high court in london
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The Specific Stories Harry Is Taking Issue With

While Harry claims that 147 articles about him involved illegal information gathering, The Telegraph reports that the following 33 will be discussed during the trial:

  • Diana so sad on Harry’s big day (Daily Mirror: Sept 16 1996)

  • Princes take to the hills for gala (Daily Mirror: July 17 2000)

  • 3 a.m.—Harry’s time at the bar (Daily Mirror: Sept 19 2000)

  • Snap...Harry breaks thumb like William; Exclusive (Daily Mirror: Nov 11 2000)

  • Rugger off Harry (Sunday Mirror: Nov 11 2000)

  • Harry took drugs and Cool it Harry (Sunday Mirror: Jan 13 2002)

  • Harry’s cocaine ecstasy and GHB parties (The Mirror: Jan 14 2002)

  • Harry’s sick with kissing disease (Daily Mirror: March 29 2002)

  • No Eton trifles for Harry, 18 (The Mirror: Sept 16 2002)

  • Matured Harry is a godfather (The People: April 20 2003)

  • Harry to lead cadet’s march (Daily Mirror: April 29 2003)

  • Harry is ready to quit Oz (Daily Mirror: Sept 27 2003)

  • Beach bum Harry (Daily Mirror: Dec 16 2003)

  • Wills...Seeing Burrell is only way to stop him selling more Diana secrets. Harry no... Burrell’s a… (The People: Dec 28 2003)

  • Harry is a Chelsy fan (Daily Mirror: Nov 29 2004)

  • When Harry met Daddy...The biggest danger to wildlife in Africa (Daily Mirror: Dec 13 2004)

  • Harry’s girl ‘to dump him’ (Daily Mirror: Jan 15 2005)

  • Chelsy is not happy. . (Daily Mirror: Jan 15 2005)

  • You did what! (Sunday Mirror: Feb 6 2005)

  • Who dares Windsors (Daily Mirror: March 4 2005)

  • Chelsy’s gap EIIR (The People: April 24 2005)

  • Harry carry! (The People: May 15 2005)

  • Chel shocked (The People: April 9 2006)

  • Davy stated (The People: Sept 16 2007)

  • Hooray Harry’s dumped (Sunday Mirror: Nov 11 2007)

  • Down in the dumped (Daily Mirror: Nov 12 2007)

  • Er, OK if I drop you off here? (Sunday Mirror: Dec 2 2007)

  • Harry fear as mobile is swiped (Daily Mirror: July 26 2008)

  • Soldier Harry’s Taliban (The People: Sept 28 2008)

  • He just loves boozing & army she is fed up & is heading home (Sunday Mirror: Jan 25 2009)

  • 3 am—What a way to Harry on’ (Daily Mirror: March 26 2009)

  • Harry’s date with Gladiators star (The People: April 19 2009)

  • Chelsy’s new fella (The People: April 26 2009)

So, What’s MGN’s Side of Things?

Per The Telegraph, MGN has denied that 28 out of the 33 articles being discussed in court involve illegal information gathering and “that it was not admitted for the remaining five articles.”

However, Reuters reports that at the start of the trial last month, MGN apologized for one specific instance of unlawful information gathering in 2004, when a private investigator was hired to gather evidence about Harry at a nightclub.

prince harry gives evidence at the mirror group newspapers trial
Leon Neal - Getty Images

What Has Happened So Far...

Monday, June 5

Tuesday, June 6

  • Per The Telegraph, MGN lawyer Andrew Green KC gave Harry a “unreserved apology” and said the one incident of illegal information gathering MGN admitted to “should have never happened and it will not happen again.”

  • Prince Harry’s 55-page witness statement was released in full and included his detailed thoughts on the 33 articles in question, as well as his claim the tabloids have interfered in his relationships:

    “I always felt as if the tabloids wanted me to be single, as I was much more interesting to them and sold more newspapers,” he wrote. “Whenever I got into a relationship, they were very keen to report the details but would then, very quickly, seek to try and break it up by putting as much strain on it and creating as much distrust as humanly possible.”

  • Harry was cross-examined about several articles. MGN’s lawyer claimed information was gathered legally and, in one case, was sourced from Harry himself. Regarding the story “No Eton trifles for Harry, 18,” Green pointed out that Harry had given quotes to the Press Association ahead of publication. As he put it, via The Telegraph,“The position then is this—the private information of which you complain in the Daily Mirror article had been revealed by you and then published in other newspapers.”

  • Harry described having to go over one article in particular (the Sunday Mirror article ‘You did what!’) in such great detail as a “stressful experience.”

We will be updating this article as the trial continues.

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