Prince Harry condemns ‘vile’ behaviour of tabloids that cast him as ‘thicko’ and ‘drug taker’ during evidence in hacking trial – live

Prince Harry condemns ‘vile’ behaviour of tabloids who cast him as ‘thicko’ and ‘drug taker’

Jim Waterson

In addition to Prince Harry’s cross-examination in court, he has provided a 49-page written witness statement, setting out many of his arguments.

We’ll bring you highlights from the witness statement here in between the exchanges live in court.

In it Harry describes how the tabloid media created the public character of ‘Prince Harry’ and shaped how other people viewed him:

You start off as a blank canvas while they work out what kind of person you are and what kind of problems and temptations you might have. They then start to edge you towards playing the role or roles that suit them best and which sells as many newspapers as possible, especially if you are the ‘spare’ to the ‘heir’. 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 twenties, 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 mainly because I thought that, if they are printing this rubbish about me and people were believing it, I may as well ‘do the crime’, so to speak. It was a downward spiral, whereby the tabloids would constantly try and coax me, a ‘damaged’ young man, into doing something stupid that would make a good story and sell lots of newspapers. Looking back on it now, such behaviour on their part is utterly vile.

I always felt as if the tabloids wanted me to be single, as I was much more interesting to them and sold more newspapers

Key events

Did you leave a voicemail on Prince William’s phone calling former royal butler Paul Burrell a “two faced shit”? Green asks

I left voicemails on my brother’s phone and that is terminology I use to refer to Mr Burrell, Harry replies.

But he adds he can not recall if he specifically left the voicemail.

‘This sort of article seeds distrust between brothers’

The next article raised by Green is about a disagreement between William and Harry over meeting Paul Burrell, the former butler to Princess Diana.

“This sort of article seeds distrust between brothers,” Harry says, a nod towards the reported breakdown in relationship between Harry and his brother, the Prince of Wales.

The article says Harry referred to Burrell as a “two-faced shit”.

In his witness statement, Harry says this is the sort of phrase he would use to describe Burrell and may have done so in a voicemail message left on William’s phone.

The next article in the sample is headlined “Beach bum Harry” and is published in 2003.

It has photographs of Harry and friends in the sea in Noosa, Australia.

Harry complains the article revealed details about his private life including his whereabouts on the beach.

Harry tells the court he can’t work out how anyone would have known where he was – he was on a remote beach in Australia with a small number of friends far away from other people.

Harry said finding him was like “finding a needle in a haystack”.

There were many photographers, local or otherwise, that are prepared to look for a needle in a haystack, Green says.

The Mirror article about Harry quitting his gap year included a detail that he had been “inside watching videos”.

The article refers to Mark Dyer, a former palace aide, and Green suggests the information about Harry’s behaviour came from him.

Harry does not accept Dyer was behind that information.

The information you allege came from phone hacking came from minders and Dyer, Green says.

Harry does not accept this.

The court session has resumed.

Green moves on to the next article, headline: “Harry is ready to quit Oz.”

Harry complains that the Mirror article revealed private information, namely he wanted to return from his gap year in Australia due to press intrusion.

Green draws attention to a quote from a palace spokesperson in the article.

In his witness statement, Harry accepts that a St James’s Palace spokesperson put out a statement.

Green says the statement appeared in other papers too – the Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mail.

Do you accept the information was not obtained by the Daily Mirror through phone hacking or other unlawful means? Green asks.

You’d have to ask the journalists, Harry says.

The court is rising for a short break.

Green moves on to another article headlined “Harry to lead cadets march”.

Harry alleges that the article reveals private information about his private life and personal life, namely being selected to lead a cadets’ parade at Eton.

A spokesperson refers to Harry being “delighted” in the article.

Green asks Harry if he was aware a St James’s Palace spokesperson had released the information the day before the article.

“That’s a classic example of when the palace would put out a statement,” he said.

Green asks if he accepts then that the Mirror article was based on information actually issued by St James’s Palace.

Harry says he finds it suspicious that the article has no byline and then a follow-up article later in the day about the same matter had the byline of a journalist known to be associated with illegal information gathering.

Green finds the interview that Harry gave to a Press Association journalist in 2002 around his 18th birthday.

It was in turn published in various Sunday newspapers, Green says, for example the Sunday Times.

Green points out the similarities between the Sunday Times article and Daily Mirror article, about which Harry complains.

“The private information about which you complain in the Mirror article had been revealed by you in an interview and then published in Sunday newspapers before appearing in the Mirror article,” Green says.

Do you still maintain that the Mirror article was based on unlawfully gathered information, Green asks.

“I believe the article was connected to an invoice,” Harry says.

“And so what?” Green asks.

“The timing was suspicious,” Harry replies.

“And so what?” Green asks again.

Harry says the appearance of the interview in the Sunday newspapers was enough to incentivise other journalists to unlawfully gather additional information.

Green moves to an article with the headline “Eton Trifles”.

Harry has complained it contains private details of how he celebrated his 18th birthday with his family.

In the witness statement, Harry says the celebration included a low-profile lunch with his father and brother.

Harry says he was obliged to give an interview about the occasion but alleges additional private information was obtained unlawfully for the article.

Did you check to see if there was additional information that didn’t appear in the interview? Green asks.

“I relied on my legal team,” Harry says.

What information was obtained by phone hacking? Green asks.

“The point is birthday was a prime opportunity to find some form of a story, an exclusive, taking a story that exists further,” Harry says.

Did you look back over the interview you consented to? Green asks.

“No,” Harry says.

“This information was highly personal, it was distressing for the reasons I detailed in my witness statement,” Harry says of the articles about his contraction of glandular fever.

Green asks if the Mirror article was more or less distressing than articles in other newspapers about the same matter.

Harry says he is unable to recall exactly which articles he has seen and which he has read.

Green is referring to an article about Harry contracting glandular fever.

Green draws attention to a palace spokesperson’s comments in the article – the inference being the spokesperson could be the source of the article.

But Harry once again points out that this was brought to them by the Mirror journalist – and the palace spokesperson was responding to a question.

The court has resumed after lunch.

Andrew Green KC is continuing to go through the sample articles submitted by Prince Harry to support his claim.

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