Prince Harry gives evidence in London phone hacking case

By Christian Edwards, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Jessie Gretener and Lindsay Isaac, CNN

Updated 5:55 PM ET, Tue June 6, 2023
39 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:28 p.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Our live coverage has now ended

We've now stopped our live updates on Prince Harry's historic courtroom appearance, as he became the first senior British royal to give evidence on a witness stand in 132 years.

His cross-examination will resume on Wednesday. In the meantime, read our main takeaways on what we learned from today's proceedings.

12:23 p.m. ET, June 6, 2023

What happened on the first day of Harry's cross-examination? Here's what you need to know

Prince Harry leaves the Rolls Building of the High Court in London on Tuesday.
Prince Harry leaves the Rolls Building of the High Court in London on Tuesday. Hannah McKay/Reuters

Harry became the first senior member of the British royal family to take to the witness box in more than a century on Tuesday, enduring a grueling day of cross-examination in his attempt to bring a reckoning on the more dubious practices of the UK tabloid press.

The prince submitted 33 articles where he alleged that media outlets owned by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) had engaged in unlawful information gathering or fact checking.

However, after the first few exchanges, the rhythm of the cross-examination began to progress along predictable lines. Here are some of the main themes:

* Uncertain timelines: Andrew Green, the barrister representing MGN, began by asking the prince when he had seen each article that he alleged had caused him “distress.” This became Green’s first line of defense. “If you don’t have any recollection of reading the article at the time, how do you say that this article caused you distress?” he asked the Duke of Sussex. Harry repeatedly claimed that he could not remember the first instance he had come across each article, as many of them were written more than 20 years ago.

Instead, Harry argued that the press coverage fed into a “general environment” that played a “destructive role” during his childhood and adolescence. Green, however, tried to press the prince on this point, asking if some of the articles had really caused Harry distress during this time – or if he had only come across them in preparation for this civil case.

* Not just The Mirror: Green tried to demonstrate that MGN newspapers were among many other papers covering the prince's life – and in many cases simply retold stories that were already “in the public domain.” The barrister often pointed to articles published by The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, and other outlets, to suggest that the Daily Mirror had not engaged in nefarious practices of its own in many instances. Harry conceded that he could see “similarities” between some of these stories. When asked why he had not launched complaints about the outlets that first put the stories into the public domain, Harry said he had not been made aware of each of them.

* “Ask the journalist”: Green pressed Harry on several occasions to specify whose phone he believes was hacked to obtain private information. But most exchanges ended with Harry claiming that Green would have to “ask the journalists” if they had engaged in phone hacking. “I don't believe as a witness it's my job to construct the article or instruct which parts were unlawfully obtained or weren't, the journalist should be doing that,” Harry told the court.

In a more heated moment, Green asked: “Are we, Prince Harry, in the realms of total speculation?” Harry responded: “I don’t believe so.”

The court will return tomorrow, when Green will resume his cross-examination of the prince.

11:53 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Court closes for the day, warns case may run into Thursday

MGN barrister Andrew Green has paused his cross-examination as the court has closed for the day. Green will resume his questions when the court returns at 10.30am local time (5.30am ET) tomorrow morning.

Green warned that it will be "quite a race" to finish his questioning of Prince Harry by midday.

David Sherborne, Harry's lawyer, also said he was "concerned about the time I have to cross-examine" Daily Mirror reporter Jane Kerr.

"If we have to go into a further day, we will," the judge confirmed.

The judge also instructed Prince Harry not to discuss his evidence overnight.

11:51 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Prince Harry claims British journalism and the government are at "rock bottom" in statement

Prince Harry arrives at the Rolls Building of the High Court in London on Tuesday.
Prince Harry arrives at the Rolls Building of the High Court in London on Tuesday. Toby Melville/Reuters

In the conclusion to his witness statement, Harry criticized the state of British journalism, which he claimed has hit “rock bottom,” and outlined his motivations for bringing this case against MGN.

“In my view, in order to save journalism as a profession, journalists need to expose those people in the media that have stolen or highjacked the privileges and powers of the press, and have used illegal or unlawful means for their own gain and agendas,” Harry wrote.

“In the same vein, I am bringing this claim, not because I hate the tabloid press or even necessarily a section of it, but in order to properly hold the people who have hijacked those privileges, which come with being a member of the press, to account for their actions.”

He said he has had a “front row seat” to witness the deterioration of press standards.

“Because they have showed no willingness to change, I feel that I need to make sure that this unlawful behavior is exposed, because obviously I don’t want anybody else going through the same thing that I’ve been going through on a personal level.”

Harry said that his personal struggle has broader implications.

On a national level as, at the moment, our country is judged globally by the state of our press and our government – both of which I believe are at rock bottom."

"Democracy fails when your press fails to scrutinize and hold the government accountable, and instead choose to get into bed with them so they can ensure the status quo,” the duke added. 

11:36 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Details of Harry's argument with ex over infamous Nazi uniform was leaked by her uncle, MGN alleges

An alleged argument between Prince Harry and his former girlfriend Chelsy Davy over an infamous Halloween costume worn by the duke when he was 20 was leaked by her uncle, not obtained by phone hacking, the lawyers for MGN have asserted in court.

The article which followed the publication of a photo of Harry wearing a Nazi uniform at a party in The Sun newspaper, claimed that Davy “wasn’t happy at all,” about the costume or about his alleged flirting with another woman, a “brunette who had her legs draped across Harry.”

The duke who was described at the time as holding a cigarette and looking “pretty happy,” alleges that his phone must have been hacked as he and Davy were in a long-distance relationship conducted a majority of the time on the phone. 

MGN barrister Andrew Green alleged that the source however was Davy’s uncle, Paul Davy, based on redacted copy of the story obtained from the journalist.

Harry responded by saying that assumption was based on the journalist being truthful about the source of the story, which the duke does not believe to be the case. 

11:29 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Harry responds to questions about vacation with then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy

In his witness statement, Prince Harry complained about the Daily Mirror’s coverage of his holiday with then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, the daughter of Charles Davy, a Zimbabwean businessman who ran a big game hunting safari.

The article was published on December 13, 2004 with the headline “When Harry met Daddy.” It reported that Harry was “introduced to Chelsy’s father on the previous day, that I was enjoying a holiday with Chelsy in Mozambique and that we had flown over to the island of Bazaruto to meet other members of her family, including her mother Beverly, and brother Sean,” according to the prince’s witness statement.

“It also states I would be flying back to Britain on December 19,” the statement added.

I am at a complete loss as to how these details were obtained," Harry told the court.

“The article itself even suggests that the Defendant’s journalists had contacted the Palace to confirm their story and was told by Clarence House that matters of my relationship were ‘private,’” Harry said in his statement.

He also questioned how the journalist came to know that “Chelsy and I had been dating for eight months,” given that Chelsy's name had only been in the public domain for “less than a month.”

Green, however, pointed Harry to an interview given to the Mail on Sunday by Paul Davy, Chelsy Davy’s uncle, on December 12 – the day before the story in the Mirror was published.

The earlier article named the resort that Harry was staying at, and included details about his plans to meet Davy’s parents.

“What we see from this Mail on Sunday article is that Paul Davey had given an interview to the Mail on Sunday informing them that you would be meeting Ms. Davy’s parents for the first time,” Green told the court.

11:04 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Harry alleges MGN negatively impacted his relationship with William

Prince Harry has testified that an article about an argument he had with his brother William, over a proposed meeting with their mother's former butler Paul Burrell, contained information gained by hacking into a voicemail Harry left William.

The article which accurately depicts the argument between the brothers planted “seeds of distrust between brothers” them by exposing such a private moment, Harry said in court. 

“The article accurately sets out the position that my brother was open to fixing a meeting with Paul to discuss his ongoing exposés about our mother, however I had made up my mind about the kind of person I thought Paul was and was firmly against meeting him at this point in my life,” Harry said in his witness statement. 

Harry alleged that the information in the article quoting a royal source, revealed his “exact private feelings including that I was “dead against any meeting” and that a meeting would be “pandering to Burrell’s attention-seeking and self-interest.” 

The duke added he also would have used the phrase “two-face s***, as is reported and believe this could have been lifted directly from a voicemail I had left.”

10:48 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Harry criticizes royal reporters, questions whether sources are "real" or "made up"

Prince Harry sits at the High Court in London in this courtroom sketch released on Tuesday.
Prince Harry sits at the High Court in London in this courtroom sketch released on Tuesday. Courtesy Julia Quenzler via Reuters

When being questioned about an article by British journalist Robert Jobson, who has reported on the royals for decades and written several books on the royal family, Prince Harry questioned the credentials of some royal reporters.

“I wouldn’t regard him as a specialist, no,” Harry told the court. 

He also said that he wouldn’t call Jobson’s contacts within the Palace “sources.”

“They may be imaginary sources,” he said.

Sometimes the source is real – it exists. Sometimes the source is completely made up.”

Harry has made versions of this critique before – most recently in the Netflix documentary he made with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex.

In the documentary, a friend of the couple said she doesn’t “understand” what the term royal expert “means.”

“Someone can just call themselves a royal expert?” the friend asked.

“Royal correspondent is a title that is given to a select group of journalists just so that those newspapers can use them and their stories with royal correspondent as credible fact, just so that whatever the papers print can come with extra credibility,” Harry said in the documentary.

“Anyone can be a royal expert. The whole point of it is to try to lend legitimacy to media articles. And they get paid for it,” he added.
10:33 a.m. ET, June 6, 2023

Harry argues MGN would push existing stories "further" by unlawful means

From CNN's Jessie Gretener and Lindsay Isaac

Prince Harry has repeatedly alleged that tabloids belonging to MGN would build on stories already in existence and push them “further” by gaining more detail illegally.

In one of the 33 articles being examined in court during Harry’s testimony, the duke alleges that private details of his 18th birthday were included in addition to the interview he was obliged to give the press on the occasion. When pressed on which parts of the story that Harry alleges were obtained by phone hacking, the duke responded that he “relied on his legal team,” for that information.

“This was obviously an ideal occasion for anyone listening into my messages to continue to do so in order to discover what additional private information could exclusively be reported,” he claims in his witness statement.

Green is making the argument that other media outlets had similar coverage to the identified MGN articles -- citing similar quotes from Palace spokespeople. Harry has said on several occasions that he did not know or had not read those articles -- and continues to argue "suspicious" activity for how MGN journalists obtained information.

Regarding Palace spokespeople comments, Harry argues that they responded to questions which Harry argues were formed after obtaining information unlawfully. Harry said "the palace did not have a systematic habit of talking about private matters, in fact it is quite the opposite."