Prince Harry’s historic legal battle has seemingly taken its toll on the royal.
The Duke of Sussex was back at London’s High Court on Wednesday, when he faced a second day of cross-examination. The 38-year-old is suing the publisher of the Daily Mirror for allegedly using unlawful techniques “on an industrial scale” to score front-page scoops on his life. On Tuesday, the British royal became the first senior member to testify in more than a century.
The case against Mirror Group is the first of the prince’s several lawsuits against the media to go to trial. It is one of three publishers he alleged unlawfully snooped on him for stories about the royal family.
Toward the end of his testimony, the royal’s lawyer asked how he felt about testifying for more than a day and a half as the world’s press looked on. The father of two appeared to get emotional as he paused, looked down, and then back up before replying softly “It’s a lot,” The New York Times reported.
Many of the articles discussed during his questioning involved his relationship with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
Prince Harry blamed tabloid scrutiny for the demise of his relationship with Chelsy Davy. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
In written testimony, Harry said “the prying eyes of the tabloids” strained his relationship with the Zimbabwe-born businesswoman. He noted it was “the main factor” in why they decided to call it quits.
Caroline Flack, a British TV presenter, passed away in 2020. She was 40. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for JW Marriott Grosvenor House London)
“This evening was strictly between myself and Caroline, who is no longer with us,” said Harry.
Flack took her life in 2020. She was 40. Flack’s family has since said tabloid scrutiny impacted her mental health.
“Prince Harry suffers from PTSD and the painful memories of that day in September 1997 walking behind his mother’s coffin come flooding back,” Andersen explained. “Testifying for seven hours in open court must have been emotionally wrenching for him since it meant reliving a childhood and young adulthood spent dodging Britain’s famously relentless tabloid press.”
The prince and his wife stepped back as senior royals in 2020. They now reside in the wealthy, coastal city of Montecito, California.
“Harry has told the High Court his experience is ‘distressing,’” said Fordwich. “Perhaps he is forgetting that this is self-imposed?… The only winners will be the lawyers due to their large legal fees.”
“Life is like golf,” she said. “It’s all about the ‘next shot.’ No one can control the last shot. The next shot, though, can do a lot to ameliorate one’s disappointment regarding the last. Harry fails to grasp that attitude is everything… In this case, win or lose is a loss for Harry.”
“Numerous newspapers had reported a rumor that my biological father was James Hewitt, a man my mother had a relationship with after I was born,” Harry wrote. “At the time of this article and others similar to it, I wasn’t actually aware that my mother hadn’t met Major Hewitt until after I was born. This timeline is something I only learnt of in around 2014, although I now understand this was common knowledge amongst the defendant’s journalists.”
According to Harry, the paternity rumor was perpetuated in several articles.
“The truth is that over the years members of the royal family, including King Charles and Prince William have taken legal action to protect their privacy,” said Andersen. “For example, Charles, then the Prince of Wales, took legal action to squelch his housekeeper’s memoirs. William successfully sued a magazine that published photographs of his wife sunbathing taken with a telephoto lens. But they didn’t take the stand to be cross-examined and frankly, wouldn’t have even considered it.”
Prince Harry has detailed his fury towards the British press in his memoir “Spare.” (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket)
“Whether he wins or loses, I think Harry feels he stood up for himself and his mother and that there was nothing more he could do,” said Andersen. “If he hadn’t testified, he would have regretted it. He would have felt bullied into submission by not only the press but his own family. That would have been too bitter a pill for Harry to swallow.”
Neama Rahmani, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Fox News Digital that he expects Harry “to win” his court battle.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reside in Montecito, California, with their son Prince Archie and daughter Princess Lilibet. (Chris Jackson)
Harry admitted he regretted cutting friends out of his life out of fear they were the sources of alleged leaks. The case dates from 1996 to 2011.
“I genuinely feel that in every relationship that I’ve ever had – be that with friends, girlfriends, with family or with the army, there’s always been a third party involved, namely the tabloid press,” said Harry.
Mirror Group has paid more than 100 million pounds ($125 million) to settle hundreds of unlawful information-gathering claims and printed an apology to phone hacking victims in 2015. However, the newspaper denies or has not admitted any of Harry’s claims.