Prince Harry’s legal team has identified 208 articles published by UK tabloids, The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World, which they claim contained unlawfully obtained private information. The articles were listed as part of a legal action by the Duke of Sussex, who is suing the publications’ owners, News Group Newspapers (NGN), over alleged phone hacking, including the listening of private voicemail messages. The court documents show that the first of the 208 articles was published on 6 January 1996 and was headlined, “Diana: I’ll take my time Ma’am; Exclusive!” Harry’s lawyers claim it contained private information about the prince’s “personal life and in particular, his health and details of a skiing accident”. The 208th article listed was published by The Sun on 1 November 2016 and was headlined “Smitten Harry bombarded Meghan with texts until he got a date”. Harry’s lawyers claim the story contained private information concerning his “personal life and in particular the fact that he had ‘inundated’ and ‘besieged’ Ms Markle with text messages and also details of and the frequency of their dates”.
The court documents also include a transcript of an alleged intercepted phone message from Harry’s brother, Prince William, in 2006, claiming to be his former girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. Furthermore, Harry’s lawyers claim the audio transcript of the voicemail was seized from a private investigator’s home. His legal team claimed around that time there had been a number of suspicious calls from the investigator to Harry’s mobile.
Harry’s lawyers stated that he has “suffered considerable distress, as well as the loss of his dignity or standing, and his personal autonomy, as a result of the misuse of his private information by NGN.” The prince’s barrister, David Sherborne, has also alleged that NGN journalists and paparazzi working on their behalf “had inside knowledge” of where Diana, Princess of Wales, was going to be. He claimed that NGN was intercepting phone calls and messages, as well as obtaining itemised phone bills of Charles and Camilla. Mr Sherborne alleged that the phone calls of the King and Queen Consort were intercepted by the publisher of The Sun in the 1990s.
NGN is arguing that Harry’s case, along with a similar claim by actor Hugh Grant, should be thrown out because they have been brought too late. The hearing in London began on Tuesday and is expected to last three days. NGN has previously settled a number of claims since the phone hacking scandal broke in relation to The News Of The World, which closed in 2011, but has consistently denied that any unlawful information gathering took place at The Sun.
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