Prince Harry feared ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy would be 'harassed to death' by press intrusion
Watch: Prince Harry arrives at High Court
Prince Harry has said he was scared his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy was going to be "harassed to death" by alleged press intrusion.
The Duke of Sussex returned to the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday for the second day of a hearing over multiple privacy claims brought against the publisher of the Daily Mail, which Harry accuses of using phone tapping and other unlawful methods to gather information about him, his friends and family.
In his witness statement released to the court, Harry detailed his relationship with Davy, who he started dating in 2004.
Harry said his former partner felt she was “being hunted” and he was “scared” she would end the relationship after the newspaper allegedly used “unlawful” methods to discover details of an overseas break, which he said was "swarmed with photographers".
"This intrusion was terrifying for Chelsy: it made her feel like she was being hunted and the press had caught her and it was terrifying for me too because there was nothing could do to stop it and now she was in my world," the duke's statement says.
"She was 'shaken' and I was really paranoid about trying to protect our privacy [...] Their behaviour and treatment of Chelsy was not normal. I was scared that Chelsy was going to run in the opposite direction or be chased and harassed to death."
Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail, is bringing a bid to end High Court claims brought by a group of celebrities including Harry, Sir Elton John and Baroness Doreen Lawrence over allegations of unlawful information gathering – which included the hiring of private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside cars and homes.
ANL’s lawyers say the claims should be dismissed without a trial because the legal actions have been brought too late and are “stale”.
ANL previously said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence”.
The lawsuit is just one of three the Duke of Sussex has launched against British newspapers that are currently in the spotlight ahead of his father King Charles's coronation on 6 May.
Yahoo breaks down what the legal action is about and why it's happening now.
Prince Harry hearing: Latest updates:
Prince Harry: Royal Family hid evidence of phone hacking (Evening Standard)
Prince Harry back in court for second day of privacy case (Telegraph)
‘Paranoid’ Harry lost friends over ‘unlawful’ newspaper stories, court hears (Independent)
What Prince Harry is up to on his surprise visit (Telegraph)
Daily Mail parent company invokes Human Rights Act to stop naming of journalists (Guardian)
Harry positions himself as poster boy of privacy court cases with surprise UK trip (Sky News)
Why is Prince Harry suing The Daily Mail's publishers?
Harry and the other claimants are suing ANL over a series of allegations of unlawful activity that they claim the paper has done to them.
They allege ANL hired private investigators to put secret listening devices in their homes and cars and that individuals were impersonated to gain access to confidential medical information about them.
Other allegations include that people were paid to listen in on live telephone calls and record them, that bank accounts and other financial information were "accessed through illicit means and manipulation" — according to the Guardian — and that police officers were paid for private information. These officers are also alleged by the claimants to have had links to private investigators.
In court on Monday, Adrian Beltrami KC, for ANL, said in written submissions that the legal actions have been brought too late and are “stale”.
The barrister said the individuals have to prove they did not know earlier, or could not have discovered earlier, they may have been able to bring a claim against ANL for alleged misuse of their private information.
Beltrami said that more than a decade after the Leveson Inquiry and several criminal and civil proceedings over phone hacking, “it would be surprising indeed for any reasonably informed member of the public, let alone a figure in the public eye, to have been unaware of these matters”.
He added that Harry “does not offer any reason why he could not with reasonable diligence have discovered the basis for his inferential claim against Associated before October 2016”.
Which other celebrities are involved in the legal action?
Harry isn't the only big name involved in the suit. He is joined by Elton John — a friend of his later mother Diana — and his husband David Furnish. Actresses Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley are also claimants.
Sir Simon Hughes — former MP and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party — is also named as a claimant.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence, campaigner on police reform and founder of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, is also part of the action.
In written submissions on behalf of the group, David Sherborne said the unlawful acts in the claim include commissioning the “breaking and entry into private property”, illegally intercepting voicemail messages, listening to live landline calls and obtaining medical records.
He said: “The claimants each claim that in different ways they were the victim of numerous unlawful acts carried out by the defendant, or by those acting on the instructions of its newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday."
Is Harry suing any other newspapers?
Harry is also suing ANL over an article about separate legal proceedings he has launched against the Home Office regarding security arrangements for his family when they are in the UK.
The Mail on Sunday article in question was published in February 2022 and headlined: "Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret… then – just minutes after the story broke – his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.”
It alleged Harry had tried to keep secret details of his legal fight to reinstate his police protection after stepping back as a senior royal in 2020, and that his aides had then tried to put a positive spin on it.
Last year, a judge ruled parts of the article were defamatory and likely to mislead readers.
During a hearing last week, ANL contested the claim arguing the article expressed an “honest opinion” and did not cause “serious harm” to his reputation. They said Harry's case was "built on sand”. The case is ongoing.
The other legal action Harry is currently involved in with the British media is against Mirror Group Newspapers, and relates to historic allegations of phone hacking and "unlawful information" gathering.
This lawsuit will go to trial in May and is expected to last around seven weeks, with the potential for Harry to give evidence.
He is not the only claimant in that trial either, with other parties like TV presenter Ian Wright and the estate of late singer George Michael also alleging they were targeted by phone hacking.
MGN is contesting the claims, arguing that some have been brought too late.
Harry versus the media
In an interview with ITV in January promoting his controversial memoir Spare, Harry said changing the media landscape in the UK was going to be his “life’s work”.
The sheer number of legal cases the Sussexes have launched against newspapers is an indication of how much they are willing to stay true to their word.
“One of the reasons I am moving the mission of changing the media landscape in the UK from being personal to my life’s work, a large part of that is down to the ongoing legal battles – specifically with phone-hacking,” he told Tom Bradby.
Harry went on to accuse the tabloid press of deliberately covering him in a negative way as a form of retaliation and said his father, King Charles had warned him against taking on the British media, calling it a “suicide mission”.
In his memoir, Harry details his feelings that the media contributed to the death of his mother in 1997, and the suicide of his ex-girlfriend Caroline Flack in 2020.
Flack’s death was, Harry wrote, served as a reminder that he and his wife Meghan had made the right decision in stepping back as working royals to preserve their mental health.
“I told myself it was an important reminder. I wasn’t being over-dramatic, I wasn’t warning about things that would never happen. What Meg and I were dealing with was indeed a question of life and death.”
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