Prince Harry alleges royal family withheld key information on phone-hacking

Prince Harry arriving at court on Tuesday. Credit: PA

Prince Harry has said he was unable to previously take legal action against the Daily Mail's publisher as the royal family withheld key information from him.

The Duke of Sussex returned to the Royal Courts of Justice for the second day of a High Court hearing over multiple privacy claims brought against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).

He is part of a group – along with Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sir Elton John and David Furnish, former Liberal Democrat MP Sir Simon Hughes and actresses Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley – who claim ANL carried out or commissioned illegal or unlawful information-gathering.

Lawyers for ANL, which is also the publisher of The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, "firmly" deny the allegations and want the cases dismissed on the basis that they were brought too late.

In his witness statement, Prince Harry said he couldn't bring his claim any earlier because when he was part of the royal family, he was conditioned to "never complain, never explain".

Harry also claimed in his witness statement the institution of the monarchy was “withholding information” from him about the phone hacking scandal.

He said the “institution” made clear to him the royal family did not need to know about the issue that rocked the British newspaper industry, and “did not sit in the witness box because that could open up a can of worms”.

He said "the institution" had "without doubt" withheld information about phone-hacking allegations against other newspaper groups to avoid opening "a can of worms". He said the "bubble burst" when he left the UK for good with his wife, Meghan Markle, in 2020.

The duke ended his statement by saying "I am bringing this claim because I love this country". He added that it is his duty to expose "criminality".

During a break in proceedings, Prince Harry went over to Doreen Lawrence and hugged her.

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Baroness Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racially-motivated attack in Eltham, south London in 1993.

The hearing before Mr Justice Nicklin is due to finish on Thursday, with a decision expected at a later date.

The claims against ANL include:

  • The hiring of private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside people’s cars and homes

  • The commissioning of individuals to "surreptitiously listen into and record people’s live, private telephone calls whilst they were taking place"

  • The payment of police officials, with corrupt links to private investigators, for inside, sensitive information

  • The impersonation of individuals to obtain medical information from private hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres by deception

  • The accessing of bank accounts, credit histories and financial transactions through illicit means and manipulation.