The media figures Harry takes pot shots at in his book: 'Infected pustule on the arse of humanity'


Sunday January 8th at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX 

Pictured: (l-r) Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex interviewed by Tom Bradby in California.

ITV will show an exclusive interview with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, next Sunday in which he will talk in-depth to Tom Bradby, journalist and ITV News at Ten presenter, covering a range of subjects including his personal relationships, never-before-heard details surrounding the death of his mother, Diana, and a look ahead at his future. 

The 90 minute programme, produced by ITN Productions for ITV, will be broadcast two days before Prince Harry’s autobiography ‘Spare’ is published on 10 January, by Transworld.

The book has been billed by publisher Penguin Random House as “a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief”.

Filmed in California, where Harry now lives, Harry: The Interview, sees the Prince go into unprecedented depth and detail on life in and out of the Royal Family.

Speaking to Tom Bradby, who he has known for more than 20 years, Prince Harry shares his personal story, in his own words.

Michael Jermey, ITV Director of News and Current Affairs, said: “It is extremely rare for a member of the Royal Family to speak so openly about their experience at the heart of the institution. 

“Tom Bradby’s interview with Prince Harry will be a programme that everyone with an informed opinion on the monarchy should want to watch.
Harry during his interview with ITV's Tom Bradby to promote his new memoir Spare in January. (ITV)

Prince Harry is giving evidence in his claim against the publisher of the Mirror over alleged unlawful information-gathering.

Harry is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages, claiming journalists at its titles were linked to phone hacking, gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.

The trial is the latest salvo in Harry's stated "life's work" to change the media landscape.

Prince Harry trial - live: Follow all the latest updates here

He has accused parts of the press of “racism”, “cronyism” and of telling “lies” and that his father, the King, feels it is “probably a suicide mission” to try and change the press.

He has accused members of the royal family, including Queen Camilla and palace aides of leaking stories about him and his family to journalists.

Queen Camilla has reportedly denied the claims and Harry has offered no evidence to support it.

Many of the duke's grievances were laid bare in his bombshell memoir Spare, in which he didn't pull any punches: targeting palace advisers, journalists and even billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who Harry is particularly scathing about.

As Harry enters the witness stand in his claim against MGN, Yahoo News UK takes a look back at some of  the other media figures Harry has targeted in his memoir:

(This article was original published in January 2023)

The media

It's not a secret that Harry isn't a fan of journalists in general. He calls those who work on Fleet Street, "a dreadful mob of dweebs and crones and cut-rate criminals and clinically diagnosable sadists".

However it is some of those who make up the "royal rota" with whom he takes the most umbrage, and while he doesn't mention any journalist by name, two in particular are the subject of his ire in Spare.

He is critical of The Daily Telegraph's Camilla Tominey, who was the first to report that Meghan and Kate had fallen out over bridesmaid dresses ahead of the Sussexes 2018 wedding, something he called a "sci-fi fantasy".

CETINJE, MONTENEGRO - MARCH 18:  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, walks in the town center with her current biographer Penny Junor (2nd from R) and Express reporter Camilla Tominey (R) on March 17, 2016 in Cetinje, Montenegro. The Prince and Duchess are visiting Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Camilla Tominey (far right) walking and chatting with Camilla - then Duchess of Cornwall - during a visit to Montenegro in 2016. (Getty Images)

"Days later came the coup de grâce: from a royal correspondent, a sci-fi fantasy describing the "growing froideur" (good Lord) between Kate and Meg", Harry wrote. "Claiming that, according to "two sources", Meg had reduced Kate to tears about the bridesmaids' dresses. This particular royal correspondent had always made me ill. She’d always, always got stuff wrong."

Harry goes on to claim that William and Kate denied the accuracy of the story and that they had leaked it, with William allegedly admitting he had mentioned a falling out between Meghan and Kate to Charles and Camilla over dinner.

Tominey has responded, saying: "We always used to have quite a good working relationship, but Harry doesn't seem to take kindly to journalists that don't write anything other than undiluted praise."

The other journalist who feels Harry's disdain is former Sun showbiz editor and GB News presenter Dan Wootton, who first reported that Harry and Meghan intended to leave royal life behind.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06:  Former News of The World journalist Dan Wootton arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry at The High Court on February 6, 2012 in London, England. The inquiry is being lead by Lord Justice Leveson and is looking into the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the United Kingdom. The inquiry, which will take evidence from interested parties and may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Dan Wootton at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics after the phone hacking scandal in 2012. (Getty Images)

Harry called him a "sad little man" who had managed to become a "quasi royal correspondent" through a mutual friend he had with someone on William's communications staff.

"A sad little man, the newspaper’s showbiz editor, was said to be the lead reporter on the story", Harry wrote. "Why him? Why, of all people, the showbiz guy? Because lately he'd refashioned himself into some sort of quasi royal correspondent, largely on the strength of his secret relationship with one particularly close friend of Willy’s comms secretary – who fed him trivial (and mostly fake) gossip."

Wootton has since reacted, saying: "Harry can say what he wants about me.... It’s very clear to me who the “sad little man” in this sorry saga is. It's the one who has trashed almost every blood relative in the most vicious fashion, simply because they tried to save him from himself."

Editors don't fare much better than the journalists in Spare, with Rebekah Brooks in particular receiving a scathing description from Harry.

"Loathsome toad, I gathered. Everyone who knew her was in full agreement that she was an infected pustule on the arse of humanity, plus a s**t excuse for a journalist."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 7:  (NO PUBLICATION IN UK MEDIA FOR 28 DAYS) Prince Harry chats with newspaper editor Rebekah Wade and actor Ross Kemp at a reception before 'City Salute', a sunset pageant to celebrate and support British service personnel and their families, outside St. Paul's Cathedral on May 7, 2008 in London, England.  (Photo by POOL/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
Rebekah Brooks (née Wade) at a reception for military service people with Prince Harry in 2008. (Getty Images)

Brooks was editor of the News of the World from 2000-2003, during which stories acquired via the illegal process of phone hacking were published. She was acquitted of all charges at trial in 2014 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of News UK.

Biographer Angela Levin also seems to get a mention, when Harry references comments she made after their 2020 royal exit that the couple had "blindsided" the Queen. Harry notes that this "quickly became 'the truth' in many circles."

He also added that the fact Levin had written a biography about him meant it was "probably" true she "depended on me to pay her rent".

"She announced these falsehoods with such unfaltering certainty that even I was tempted to believe her, and thus her version of events quickly became "the truth" in many circles. Harry blindsided the Queen! That was the narrative that took hold."

Levin told Buzzfeed: "I have absolutely no idea if Harry is referring to me, but I can tell you that I wasn’t relying on him for my rent. My husband and I bought a house and paid off the mortgage long ago."

Palace staff

Harry also takes swipes at palace aides and staff in his memoir, including Queen Elizabeth's Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser Angela Kelly, who was also said to be one of the late monarch's closest friends.

Harry calls Angela a "troublemaker" and alleges that she was "skilled at planting stories" to the press, though he does not provide any evidence to support this accusation. Further, he details his version of reports that appeared in the press ahead of his 2018 wedding regarding a tiara fitting for Meghan."She was being obstructive, obviously, but for what reason? We couldn’t even hazard a guess", Harry writes about his attempts to schedule the tiara fitting.

"I considered going to Granny, but that would probably mean sparking an all-out confrontation, and I wasn’t quite sure with whom Granny would side. Also, to my mind, Angela was a troublemaker, and I didn’t need her as an enemy."

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20:  Queen Elizabeth II sits with Anna Wintour, Caroline Rush (L), chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC) and royal dressmaker Angela Kelly (R) as they view Richard Quinn's runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design as she visits London Fashion Week's BFC Show Space on February 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Yui Mok - Pool/Getty Images)
Angela Kelly sits with Vogue's Anna Wintour and the late Queen Elizabeth at London Fashion Week in 2018. (Getty Images)

Harry also refers to a series of three courtiers by the nicknames, "Bee", "Wasp", and "Fly".

The portrait he paints in Spare of these three figures is certainly not a positive one.

He describes Bee as "so poised that people didn’t fear him", which was a "Big mistake. Sometimes their last mistake."

Harry also claims that during the 2020 Sandringham summit, in which he sat down with his family to discuss options for a new working model for him and Meghan, the Bee lied to him about a printer not working.

The duke alleges that this was so the aide was able to avoid admitting that a statement had only been prepared for one option: that Harry and Meghan would have no "royal role" and be out in the cold in terms of security.

The Fly is described as loving "s**t", and spending his professional life being "drawn to it".

"The Fly had spent much of his career adjacent to, and indeed drawn to, shit", Harry wrote

"The offal of government and media, the wormy entrails, he loved it, grew fat on it, rubbed his hands in glee over it, though he pretended otherwise."

Finally, the Wasp was portrayed as seeming "weedy" and "self-effacing" which meant people "might be tempted to push back".

If you did so, Harry claimed, "he’d put you on his list. A short time later, without warning, he’d give you such a stab with his outsized stinger that you’d cry out in confusion."

Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler, is described as making Harry's "blood boil" after he wrote a tell-all book about his time working for the royals.

"My mother once called this butler a dear friend, trusted him implicitly. We did too. Now this. He was milking her disappearance for money. It made my blood boil." Harry wrote.

Burrell told The Sun, that he had almost cried when he saw how Harry had described him, saying: "I'm very, very sad. I almost burst into tears when I saw that he’d attacked me."

Newspaper owners

Spare also sees Harry namedrop billionaire media magnate Rupert Murdoch in less than flattering terms.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17:  Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman News Corporation looks on during a panel discussion at the B20 meeting of company CEO's on July 17, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Over 350 business leaders have gathered in Sydney for the 2014 B20 Summit to discuss and determine policy recommendations ahead of the G20 Leaders Meeting in Brisbane later this year.  (Photo by Jason Reed - Pool/Getty Images)
Rupert Murdoch a summit for business in Australia in 2014. (Getty Images)

Murdoch is described as having politics "just to the right of the Taliban" and being "evil".

"Of course I didn’t care for Murdoch’s politics, which were just to the right of the Taliban’s. And I didn’t like the harm he did each and every day to Truth", Harry wrote.

Murdoch's "wanton desecration of objective facts", Harry said, meant he "couldn’t think of a single human being in the 300,000-year history of the species who’d done more damage [than Murdoch] to our collective sense of reality."

News UK did not provide comment when asked about the comments regarding Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch; Buckingham Palace did not provide comment when asked about comments relating to Angela Kelly.

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