When I discussed Prince Harry‘s war with the press after his statement denouncing their treatment of Meghan, and her subsequent lawsuit, I said that Harry wouldn’t be able to sue everyone. Well, he’s certainly trying. Buckingham Palace has now confirmed that Harry is suing the owners of The Sun and Mirror publications for privacy violations relating to alleged phone hacking.
Byline Investigates broke the story about Harry suing News Group Newspapers Limited (which owns The Sun) and MGN Limited (which owns the Mirror), publishing screenshots of the filings and speaking to various legal sources about the potentials for this case (they didn’t appear to have any royal sources).
Because I had never heard of Byline Investigates until today, and I couldn’t look up the filings myself, I was wary of writing about this as fact until I got more confirmation. But now the BBC has received confirmation from Buckingham Palace that Harry is, in fact, suing these two newspaper groups, saying: “Documents have been filed on behalf of Prince Harry over the alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.”
The timeline of the alleged phone hacking/illegal interception of voicemail messages has not been established, but the BBC is presuming it is related to the early 2000s phone hacking scandal that we’ve heard about already.
The lawsuits were filed quietly on September 27 while Harry and Meghan were on tour. Harry is using the soliciting firm Clintons for these lawsuits.
If this is related to the early 2000s phone hacking stuff, I find it extremely interesting that Harry is suing and William is not. William was allegedly hacked as well, and we all know William is quite litigious. Seems strange to me that Harry would sue and William wouldn’t – I would have thought, before now, that it would have been the other way around.
Additionally, if this is related to the early 2000s stuff, I find it fascinating that there is no statute of limitations on this type of thing. But maybe there was something more recent which prompted these lawsuits?
This will certainly be interesting to watch.
Byline Investigates has more information on Harry’s case. They aren’t entirely clear about the nature of this, but Harry has joined others in this litigation: “Prince Harry is not the only alleged victim suing The Sun and the Daily Mirror. Scores of other victims are already registered in the current wave of litigation.” It’s unclear if this is a “class action” type of thing, or just that Harry’s is one of many different lawsuits happening at the same time.
In addition to the phone hacking part of the case, Byline reports that Harry is also claiming that “the papers’ editors and executives mounted an industrial-scale cover-up of serious criminality for more than twenty years.” Harry’s allegations extend back over 20 years to Diana.
His claim – if as expected follows the format of other hacking cases to pass through the High Court – will stretch back to include allegations of reporters and private investigators listening to messages about the Prince left on his mother’s phone when he was a child.
Voicemails from, or about, the now 35-year-old Duke of Sussex were also likely to have been left on the phones of Princess Diana’s confidantes and staff, which being targeted by Mirror and News of The World journalists.Byline Investigates
I still think it’s rather odd that Harry is the one, or only one, suing right now – William and Kate were allegedly hacked more than Harry was, and William has been more obsessive about Diana’s memory, publicly, than Harry has, so why is William not also suing?
I said in my article on Meghan’s lawsuit that I didn’t see it ending well, and I think that even more now with Harry’s lawsuits. Harry may end up winning these lawsuits, but this will not be good for him, his family, or the BRF long term. Do not pick a fight with people who have dirt on you and your family, and who aren’t afraid to take you down with them. I’m reminded of the Tati/James Charles/Jeffree Star YouTube drama that went down earlier this year, where these people spent a couple weeks trying to destroy each other’s careers. The same thing could happen with this situation. The Sun, Mirror, and Daily Mail newspapers may go down because of Harry and Meghan’s lawsuits, but they could take the whole BRF down with them. These newspapers know more dirt on the BRF than has been published, for sure, and if they are wounded and have no incentive to keep their agreements with the BRF, there is no telling what could be released.
I fully empathize with Harry’s stance on wanting revenge against the people he thinks have harmed his mom, him, and his wife, but I think he’s being too short-sighted with this.