Prince Harry took to the witness box on Tuesday with a Bible in hand, as he swore to tell the truth in a lawsuit against a tabloid publisher. He has accused the publisher of using illegal techniques, including phone hacking, to get scoops. The Duke of Sussex has pledged to hold the UK media to account for what he calls their hounding of him and his family. Harry claims that from his childhood, British newspapers used hacking and subterfuge to write front-page news, causing him distress. The hearing is set to last for a day and a half, and Mirror Group Newspapers is contesting the claims.
Harry accused the tabloids of causing distress with every single article, despite not being able to recall a specific article. Green pressed further, asking how distress may have been caused without a specific article being recalled. His mother, the late Princess Diana, featured significantly in the case, especially when Green asked how reporters could hack Harry’s phone for an article at the time of his twelfth birthday, when he didn’t have a mobile phone. He suggested that his mother’s phone could have been hacked for such an article.
Hacking celebrities’ phone a widespread practice at UK tabloids earlier in this century and became a crisis for the industry after the revelation in 2011 that the News of the World had hacked the phone of a slain girl aged thirteen. The Mirror Group has already paid over 100 million pounds ($125 million) to settle multiple illegal information-gathering claims; however, it has not admitted any of Harry’s claims relating to 33 published articles.
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and footballer Wayne Rooney are some of the other celebrities, including Harry, who have testified against the UK media, accusing it of hacking their phones in the recent past.