Prince Harry has answered questions about a prank voicemail left by his brother William, a visit to a strip club, and his break-up with Chelsy Davy, in his final day giving evidence at the High Court.
At the end of his time in the witness box, Harry was asked by his lawyer David Sherborne how being questioned on dozens of articles written about him, “in a very public” court room, had made him feel. After a pause, he replied: “It’s a lot.”
Earlier in the day, he was asked if he would be “disappointed” should the court not find in his favour and decide details about his private life were not obtained by phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) journalists.
The Duke of Sussex said he would be “speculating”, but when pushed further he replied to say he would “feel some injustice”.
Harry told the court: “I believe that phone hacking was [done] on an industrial scale across at least three of the papers at the time… that is beyond any doubt.
“To have a decision against me and any of the other people [bringing a claim], given that Mirror Group have admitted hacking [in relation to other cases], yes it would feel like an injustice… if it wasn’t accepted.”
Andrew Green KC, representing MGN, then asked the duke: “So you want to have been phone hacked?”.
“Nobody wants to be phone hacked,” he replied.
MGN has previously settled a number of claims in relation to unlawful information gathering, but a 2015 trial of representative claims, including those brought by former Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati and ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, is the only other trial to have taken place – leading to an award of a record £1.2 million in compensation.
The publisher denies the allegations made by Harry.
Other key moments from court:
• Harry addresses judge to say that all his life, the press “have misled me, covered up their wrongdoing”
• He says he found a tracking device on former girlfriend Davy’s car
• Describes article about him and his mother Diana as “incredibly intrusive” and “suspicious”
• Says journalists went to “extreme lengths” to cover up hacking and that he believes burner phones were used “excessively”
Harry arrived outside the court’s Rolls Building in central London in a black Range Rover shortly before 10am, wearing a dark suit and silver tie, before entering the witness box again after nearly five hours of cross-examination on Tuesday.
His witness statement has also been released, containing the full details of all his allegations against MGN, publisher of the Daily Mirror and other titles – a lawsuit that makes him the first senior royal to give evidence in a UK court in more in than 100 years.
After resuming his questioning this morning, Mr Green asked Harry about an article headlined “Chel Shocked”, published in the People in 2006, which reports how his then girlfriend Ms Davy was angry about the royal allegedly receiving a lap dance during a night out with cadet friends.
In his witness statement, Harry said he does not remember Ms Davy being mad at him. “We did speak about it over the phone, but I promised her that I hadn’t had a lap dance and stayed with the three other cadets that had girlfriends,” he wrote.
Speaking in court, Harry said parts of the article were “factually incorrect” – including a reference to a “tall statuesque blonde” who bore a “striking resemblance” to Ms Davy.
Mr Green put it to Harry that many MGN stories included as part of his case contained information that was already available elsewhere, including in articles by rival news outlets.
One story published by the now defunct News Of The World at the time contained details of a voicemail left by Prince William to Harry, mimicking Ms Davy’s “high-pitched” accent, the barrister told the court – saying this was an “important step” to police arresting Clive Goodman, the then royal editor at the News Of The World, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, over royal phone hacking.
Harry said he was aware of this.
Mr Green said no MGN journalists were arrested at the time of a police investigation, adding that journalists would have later been taking an “enormous risk” by hacking Harry’s phone or those around him.
“I think there was a risk right from the beginning,” the duke said, adding: “I believe the risk is worth the reward for them”.
Harry’s time in court has impacted others as well as the royal – but hardest part is over
Prince Harry has been facing some tough questioning. Many of the articles discussed today were about his former girlfriends, with a lot of focus, as expected, on his relationship and break-up with Chelsy Davy.
And we heard again from Harry, how retelling these events in court is “distressing” both for him and also for Chelsy, who now has her own young family.
Harry always knew bringing this claim would put him in the witness box, facing cross-examination. But others too are clearly impacted.
On day two, we’ve heard Mirror Group’s attempt to prove that even though articles were being written about Harry, the information in them was obtained legitimately – in some cases, even lifted from other newspapers’ stories.
Prince Harry in return is trying to show that there was no way the information would have come from sources, which he believes is a cover-up for phone hacking.
It hasn’t been easy for the duke. But the hardest part is now over.
Mr Green also asked about an article headlined “Hooray Harry’s dumped” – which the duke said was “hurtful to say the least” and that “such a private moment was turned into a bit of a laugh”.
The barrister said the “Hooray” name had been used to describe the royal in previous stories and “was not celebrating the demise of your relationship.”
Pop star appears outside Harry court case
Before today’s evidence began, former East 17 star Brian Harvey turned up outside court, shouting about corruption.
He told Sky News that he too was a victim of phone hacking, and that the media is “a joke”.
During his first day in court, Harry criticised Piers Morgan, and said in his witness statement that he felt “physically sick” at the thought of the former Mirror editor and his “band of journalists” allegedly “earwigging” on his mother Princess Diana‘s messages.
Morgan later told Sky News he did not see any of Harry’s comments, but added: “I wish him luck with his privacy campaign and look forward to reading about it in his next book.”
As part of our special programmes on the case, Sky News is transcribing Harry’s evidence and recreating his court appearance with an actor.
The royal is suing MGN, attempting to prove that reporters for the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People titles were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators, between 1996 and 2010.
He claims about 140 articles contained information gathered using unlawful methods, and 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.
MGN is contesting the claims and has either denied or not admitted each of them. The publisher also argues that some of the claimants have brought their legal action too late.
As well as Harry, there are three other representative claimants involved in the case: Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, who is best known for playing Kevin Webster; Hollyoaks and former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson; and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.
What are ‘blagging’ and phone hacking?
These terms have come up numerous times in this case.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, blagging is described as “knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data or information without the consent of the data controller” – in simpler terms, it is obtaining private or confidential information by impersonation or another method of deception.
Blagging phone bills, addresses, bank statements and health records has been illegal since 1994.
The Data Protection Act does include a defence for those who can show obtaining, disclosing or procuring the information was in the public interest, though this has never been tested in court.
Phone hacking usually refers to listening to voicemail messages and is done without accessing the physical phone handset.
It can also mean intercepting phone calls to listen to the conversation in progress, or taking covert control of the phone to receive copies of text messages and other activity.
Harry In Court – watch special programme on Sky News tonight at 9pm