Prince Harry Blasts Palace, Says They 'Without Doubt' Withheld Information from Him on Phone Hacking

The Duke of Sussex submitted a witness statement ahead of the civil case against Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers, which he's attending in London

Prince Harry is speaking out.

The Duke of Sussex — who is in London this week for a legal case in which he and other prominent figures are suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, for illegal information gathering — submitted a witness statement in which he says he was made to adopt his family's policy to "never complain, never explain" when dealing with the media.

"Following the death of my mother in 1997 when I was 12 years old and her treatment at the hands of the press, I have always had an uneasy relationship with the press," he said, referring to his mother, Princess Diana. "However, as a member of the Institution the policy was to 'never complain, never explain.' There was no alternative; I was conditioned to accept it. For the most part, I accepted the interest in my performing my public functions."

However, Prince Harry said dating Meghan Markle made him "increasingly troubled by the approach of not taking action against the press in the wake of vicious persistent attacks on, harassment of and intrusive, sometimes racist articles concerning Meghan." He added that "the situation got worse" with Meghan's pregnancy and the birth of their first child, Prince Archie, in May 2019.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave after a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Friday, June 3, 2022 on the second of four days of celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee. The events over a long holiday weekend in the U.K. are meant to celebrate the monarch's 70 years of service
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince Harry said he became aware that he had a claim against News Group Newspapers over phone hacking that he could bring in 2018.

"The Institution was without a doubt withholding information from me for a long time about NGN's phone hacking and that has only become clear in recent years as I have pursued my own claim with different legal advice and representation," he said.

Harry added: "It is not an exaggeration to say that the bubble burst in terms of what I knew in 2020 when I moved out of the United Kingdom." Prince Harry and Meghan moved to her home state of California that year after stepping back as senior members of the royal family.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex waves as he arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on March 28, 2023. - Prince Harry and pop superstar Elton John appeared at a London court, delivering a high-profile jolt to a privacy claim launched by celebrities and other figures against a newspaper publisher. The publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers (ANL), is trying to end the high court claims brought over alleged unlawful activity at its titles.
Prince Harry. DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty

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"To this day, there are members of the Royal Family and friends of mine who may have been targeted by NGN and I have no idea whether they have or have not brought claims," he continued. "There was never any centralised discussion between us about who had brought claims as each office in the Institution is siloed. There is this misconception that we are all in constant communication with one another but that is not true."

Prince Harry said the claim was "not just about me."

"I am bringing this claim because I love my country and I remain deeply concerned by the unchecked power, influence and criminality of Associated," he said. "The evidence I have seen shows that Associated's journalists are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us. The British public deserve to know the full extent of this cover up and I feel it is my duty to expose it."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex leaves from the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court
Prince Harry. JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

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After making a surprise appearance at the High Court on Monday, the Duke of Sussex returned on Tuesday for the second day of a legal case in which he and other prominent figures — including Elton John, the singer's husband David Furnish, Elizabeth Hurley, Parliament member Doreen Lawrence and Jude Law's ex-wife Sadie Frost — are suing ANL. The claimants alleged in the lawsuit that unlawful practices included the placement of listening devices in their cars and homes by private investigators, the surreptitious recording of private telephone calls, the payment of police "with corrupt links to private investigators" for sensitive information, impersonation to obtain medical information from hospitals and care facilities and illicit manipulation into accessing bank accounts, credit histories and other financial transactions.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 28, 2023 in London, England. Prince Harry is one of several claimants in a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail.
Prince Harry. Dan Kitwood/Getty

The four-day hearing will consider legal arguments from both sides and conclude with a judge's ruling on whether the case should go to trial. Associated Newspapers are arguing that the case should be thrown out.

Associated Newspapers deny the allegations, calling them "preposterous smears," the BBC reported.

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