Prince Harry launched a fierce attack on the “vile” press on Tuesday, blaming tabloids for destroying his adolescence and later relationships, as he gave evidence for almost five hours in his lawsuit against a tabloid publisher.
As he became the first senior British royal to appear in a witness box in more than a century, Harry also said the thought of people unlawfully intruding into the private life of his late mother Princess Diana made him “feel physically sick”.
The prince, the fifth-in-line to the throne, and 100 others are suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, at the High Court in London over allegations of widespread unlawful information gathering between 1991 and 2011.
In his 50-page written witness statement and a day of cross-examination from MGN’s lawyer Andrew Green, the younger son of King Charles said he had been targeted since 1996 when he was a schoolboy.
“I’ve experienced hostility from the press since I was born,” he said.
Harry said the press would try to destroy his relationships with girlfriends, blaming them for his break-up with Chelsy Davy, for causing his circle of friends to shrink, and for bouts of depression and paranoia.
He said he had been labelled a “playboy prince”, a “thicko”, a “failure” and a “drop out”.
“Looking back on it now, such behavior on their part is utterly vile,” he wrote, saying the tabloids had incited “hatred and harassment” into his and his wife Meghan’s private lives.
In another section he said: “How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness?”
Asked to whom he was referring, he said: “Some of the editors and journalists that are responsible for causing a lot of pain, upset and in some cases – perhaps inadvertently – death.