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Prince Harry in UK tabloid case: UK journalism, government at ‘rock bottom’

Prince Harry’s appearance on the witness stand marks the first time in over 132 years that a senior member of the British royal family has testified in court since the “royal baccarat scandal” of 1890, where the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) was sued for defamation.

Prince Harry, the son of King Charles III, made a rare court appearance Tuesday in London as part of an ongoing legal battle against Mirror Group Newspapers over the alleged use of illegal methods to obtain information about public figures.

Prince Harry has accused the newspaper publisher of hacking his phone and engaging in other illegal practices in their coverage of him over the years. The allegations were revealed as part of a lawsuit filed by Prince Harry against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers over unlawful practices dating back to the mid-1990s.

Taking the stand, Harry expressed his belief that journalists need to expose those who have used illegal means in the media for personal gain. He criticized the state of the press and government, stating they are at “rock bottom” and called for an end to the unlawful activities and trolling.

“On a national level as, at the moment, our country is judged globally by the state of our press and our government — both of which I believe are at rock bottom,” Prince Harry said in a witness statement.

“The fact that it was not just the journalists who were carrying out the unlawful activity, but also those in power who were turning a blind eye to it so as to ensure that it would continue unabated, and who then tried to cover it up when the game was up is appalling.”

Prince Harry previously detailed a secret agreement between the royal family and NGN, which saw legal proceedings quashed in exchange for a later apology to avoid a public trial. However, NGN denies the existence of such an agreement, and Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the ongoing trial.

The royal’s lawyers claim Queen Elizabeth granted him permission in 2017 to seek the truth in court and pursue a personal apology from Murdoch.

“Trolls react and mobilize to stories they create,” added Harry, asking “how much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness?”
Mirror Group Newspapers has denied the accusations and cited previous reporting and palace statements as their sources for coverage.

The cross-examination of Prince Harry is set to continue on the following day.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle stepped down as full-time working members of the royal family in 2020 and moved to California not long after. In addition to the phone hacking trial,

Harry is also facing a legal battle in a Washington, DC, federal court where the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, is seeking to unseal his immigration records following revelations of his past drug use.

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