Prince Harry says tabloids have blood on their hands in explosive testimony
London, UK - Prince Harry on Tuesday said he had suffered lifelong "press invasion" and accused some media of having blood on their hands, as he became the first royal in more than 100 years to give evidence in court.
Harry said he had been the victim of relentless and distressing media intrusion "most of my life up until this day" and attacked negative portrayals of him as the "spare to the heir".
"How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness," the younger son of King Charles III added in a witness statement.
"You're then either the 'playboy prince,' the 'failure,' the 'dropout,' or in my case, the 'thicko,' the 'cheat,' the 'underage drinker,' the 'irresponsible drug taker,' the list goes on."
"As a teenager and in my early 20s, I ended up feeling as though I was playing up to a lot of the headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to pin on me... It was a downward spiral," he said, calling the reporting "utterly vile".
Harry is accusing tabloid publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) of illegal information gathering, including phone hacking.
During cross-examination by MGN's lawyer Andrew Green, Harry admitted that he had no recollection of reading the majority of the articles he had complained about.
But he called them "incredibly invasive" and taken as a whole they had made him acutely paranoid and ruined his relationships.
Harry's lawyer claims "industrial scale" snooping
The case is Harry's latest legal battle with the press since he stepped down from frontline royal duties in early 2020 and relocated to California with Meghan Markle.
The royal earned a rebuke from the judge on Monday for not turning up for the opening statement in his case as he had been attending his young daughter's second birthday on Sunday.
The case against MGN centers on claims that its tabloids broke the law to obtain stories about Harry and other claimants, including two TV soap opera actors and the ex-wife of a comedian.
At the start of the trial on May 10, MGN apologized and admitted to "some evidence" of unlawful information gathering, including for a story about Harry.
But it denied voicemail interception and also argued that some claims had been brought too late.
Sherborne argued that "industrial scale" illegal activities were happening at MGN and had been approved by senior executives.
Cover photo: DANIEL LEAL / AFP