The British royal family reportedly isn’t optimistic about Prince Harry’s lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over alleged illegal information-gathering tactics.
“The family believes this is not going to end well,” a source told Vanity Fair. The Duke of Sussex’s decision to pursue legal recourse has further separated him from his family, according to the publication. His relationships with his father, King Charles, and his brother, Prince William, allegedly remain tense, and Harry reportedly didn’t see either of them despite being in the U.K. for his court testimony. The duke is believed to have left for California Wednesday evening.
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However, a source close to Harry told Vanity Fair that this case is very personal for him. It’s not about getting a payout or a public apology; the Duke of Sussex hopes his suit will cause tabloids to change the way they operate. “Harry will stop at nothing,” the source told the magazine. “He believes he was hacked and that he has every reason to believe this was the case, given that the Mirror has admitted to historic phone hacking [in other cases]. In his eyes everything leads back to phone hacking.”
In a witness statement read to London’s High Court in the MGN case this week, Harry said tabloids’ “vile” behavior caused him to experience a “downward spiral.” He also referenced the death of his mother, Princess Diana, by saying that the press’s actions have had fatal consequences. The duke is the first senior member of the British royal family to testify in court since the 19th century.
The case against MGN, publisher of The Daily Mirror, is one of three lawsuits Harry has brought over allegations of phone hacking, invasions of privacy, and other unlawful practices, The Associated Press reports. Harry is also suing Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and Associated Newspapers Ltd., the owner of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
Associated Newspapers “vigorously denies” the claims, while News Group has apologized for hacking by its now-defunct News of the World, but The Sun does not accept liability or admit to any wrongdoing, according to spokespeople. Lawyers for the Mirror Group have argued that Harry waited too long to file his lawsuit, The New York Times has reported. The lead attorney for the company said in court “that there is simply no evidence that the Duke of Sussex was ever hacked.”