The Duke of Sussex is to resume giving evidence in his High Court claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror over alleged unlawful information gathering.
The duke is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages, claiming journalists at its titles – which also include the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People – was linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.
He alleges that about 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) titles contained information gathered using unlawful methods, and 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.
On Tuesday, Harry faced nearly five hours of questions as he became the first senior royal in more than two decades to appear personally in court proceedings.
In his written evidence before the court, the 38-year-old said MGN’s alleged intrusion into his life contributed to “a huge amount of paranoia” in his relationships.
In a 49-page witness statement, the duke said:
“He found it very hard to trust anyone, which led to bouts of depression and paranoia. Friendships were lost entirely unnecessarily”.The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry
Later he added that some of his friends “became instant targets”.
Other key claims from Harry’s witness statement are:
“He feels sick at the thought of former Mirror editor Piers Morgan and journalists allegedly hacking his mother Diana’s phone. He believes both the UK press and government are at rock bottom.
“Reveals he has never been an account holder or received a bill for a mobile phone – this was dealt with “by the Institution, presumably for security purposes although that now seems rather ironic. He also says the Institution could wipe our devices remotely”.Prince Harry’s witness statement
Harry Questioned about his 33 articles presented to Court
Andrew Green KC, for MGN, questioned Harry on about 20 of the 33 articles over the course of Tuesday.
Harry was asked why he has complained about articles in MGN titles when the same information had previously been put into the public domain by other media outlets.
The duke said his understanding was that MGN journalists used unlawful methods to get “exclusive” angles on existing stories or to move the story on in some way.
Mr Green also asked Harry about his claim that articles “caused him to be paranoid and to distrust those around him”, and whether he was referring to specific MGN articles or “the general effect of all of the articles” about him.
“Yes, because … it is 20 years ago and I simply can’t other than speculate whether I saw these articles at the time.
“I certainly saw a lot of articles at the time and was made aware … unfortunately, by the behavior and reaction of my inner circle”.Prince Harry
MGN is contesting his claim and has either denied or not admitted that articles about Harry being examined at the trial involved phone hacking or unlawful activity.
Harry’s claim is being heard alongside three other “representative” claims during a trial which began last month and is due to last six to seven weeks.
The three other representative claimants are Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, who is best known for playing Kevin Webster in the long-running soap, former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson, and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.