Prince Harry sues owners of Sun and Mirror for alleged phone hacking

Prince Harry sues owners of Sun and Mirror for alleged phone hacking
Copyright 2019 CNN
Prince Harry Duchess Meghan in Africa.

Prince Harry is suing the owners of UK tabloid newspapers the Sun and the Daily Mirror for allegedly hacking his phone.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed that claims have been filed in court “regarding the illegal interception of voicemail messages.”

The development comes just days after Harry launched a scathing attack on the UK tabloid media as his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, sued the UK’s Mail on Sunday, claiming that the paper illegally published a private letter to her father.

A spokesperson for the Sun’s parent company, the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Group Newspapers (NGN), told CNN: “We confirm that a claim has been issued by the Duke of Sussex. We have no further comment to make at the current time.”

A source at Reach plc, the Mirror’s parent company, said that it was aware of the proceedings but had not yet received notification of them.

Fresh legal claim

It has not been established when the hacking allegations date from, but the new claim means both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pursuing active legal action against UK publishers.

In an emotional statement issued earlier this week, Harry alleged the British tabloid press was waging a campaign against Meghan that mirrored the treatment meted out to his mother, Princess Diana, who died in 1997 when her car crashed as it was being chased by a paparazzo on a motorbike.

The Prince said he felt some reporting about his wife was “bullying” and that he feared “history repeating itself” — a reference to Diana, who was the target of intense media attention.

“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

He accused the Mail on Sunday of selectively editing the letter to disguise “lies” the paper had told about the Duchess — a claim that the tabloid specifically denies.

Phone hacking scandal

The phone hacking scandal emerged in the UK in the early 2000s and led to the 2011 closure of UK Sunday newspaper News of the World, published by News Group Newspapers, and prompted criminal convictions.

Journalists at British newspapers were accused of making payments to police and hacking into the phones of celebrities, law makers, royalty, murder victims and other figures in the news. Most cases involved the News of the World, but the Sun and Mirror Group publications have settled cases.

Celebrities who have settled claims with the Mirror group include actor Hugh Grant, while singer Elton John is among a number of stars to settle a claim against News Group Newspapers.

According to Hacked Off, the campaign group which represents the victims of phone hacking, the publishers involved in the scandal could face a total bill for phone hacking of up to £1 billion.