What are the takeaways from Prince Harry’s day in a London court?

LONDON (AP) — It was a rare sight — a senior British royal testifying in court.

What Prince Harry said, both during cross-examination in the witness box on Tuesday and in his written statement, was equally unusual. By turns defensive, outspoken and accusatory, his testimony shed light on royal life and Harry’s bitter personal feud with the press.

Here’s what to know after a historic day at the High Court in London.

A LIFE OF INTRUSION

Harry, 38, is suing the Daily Mirror publisher over 33 articles published between 1996 and 2011 which he claims were based on phone hacking or other illegal spying methods.

These stories represent a fragment of decades of media coverage that Harry says has distorted his life and that of his friends and loved ones.

In his witness statement, Harry claimed that during his teenage years and young adulthood, the tabloids cast him in a role – “the ‘thicko’. the ‘cheater’, the ‘underage drinker’, the ‘taker of irresponsible drug.

“I ended up feeling like I was playing with a lot of headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to pin on me mainly because I thought, if they printed this garbage on me and people believed it, I might as well ‘do the crime’, so to speak, said Harry.”It was a downward spiral, in which the tabloids were constantly trying to persuade me, a ‘damaged’ young man, to do something stupid that would do a good story and would sell a lot of newspapers.”

Harry alleged that the reporters’ behavior was ruinous for his mental health, causing “episodes of depression and paranoia”.

“I realize now that my acute paranoia of being constantly under surveillance wasn’t misplaced after all,” he said.

DESTROYED RELATIONSHIPS

Many articles discuss Harry’s relationship with Chelsy Davy, his first serious girlfriend. He says his relationship ultimately fell apart under media scrutiny and accuses newspapers of trying to destroy his relationship “using every illegal means at their disposal”.

“I always felt like the tabloids wanted me to be single because I was much more interesting to them and sold more papers,” her statement said. “Every time I entered into a relationship, they were very keen to report the details but then sought, very quickly, to try to break it up by putting as much pressure as possible and creating as much distrust as humanly possible. , as I will go into more detail later in this statement.

“That twisted goal is still pursued to this day, even though I am now married,” he said.

DIANA’S PAINFUL MEMORIES

Harry has long blamed the press for the death of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a car accident in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

He told the court he was distraught to find that Diana’s private conversations could have been hacked by the Mirror Group. He said he felt “sick” to learn that the newspaper was paying private investigators for information related to Diana.

He lashed out at TV host Piers Morgan, who was editor of the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004.

“The thought of Piers Morgan and his group of reporters perceiving my mother’s private and sensitive messages… three months before her death in Paris, makes me feel physically ill,” Harry wrote. He called it “despicable and totally unjustified behavior”.

FAULTY RECALL?

Harry’s anguish is evident, but the Mirror Group lawyer thought his memory was faulty. Lawyer Andrew Green presented Harry with the articles one by one on Tuesday, asking if he remembered reading them at the time of publication. In many cases, he couldn’t.

Green also said Harry was “in the realm of complete speculation” when he said the stories must have been acquired through phone hacking or other illicit means.

The lawyer said there had been ‘many different routes’ through which information about Harry had made its way to the media and ‘that doesn’t always require illegal press activity’.

A CALL TO ARMS

Having left royal life in 2020, citing unbearable media scrutiny and alleged racism towards his wife, Meghan, Harry is on a mission to reform Britain’s media.

His testimony ends with a call to arms, calling for press regulation and accusing some journalists of having “blood on their typing fingers”.

“They claim to hold public figures to account, but refuse to hold themselves accountable. If they are supposed to monitor society, who on earth is monitoring them, when even the government is afraid of alienating them because position is power. This is incredibly worrying for the whole of the UK,’ Harry said.

Nor is he a fan of the British Conservative government. “Our country is judged globally by the state of our press and our government – which I believe are at rock bottom,” he said.

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