Prince Harry has alleged that members of the royal family entered into a covert agreement with newspapers not to sue them over phone hacking, as it would "open a can of worms." He further claimed that his family concealed information regarding press intrusion from him, conditioning him to accept their stance on not confronting the British newspaper industry.
In documents submitted to the high court, Harry said that there was a confidential arrangement between the royal family, which he refers to as "the Institution," and Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of the Sun. Harry claimed, "There was in place an agreement between the Institution and NGN that we would not engage, or even discuss, the possibility of bringing claims against NGN until the litigation against it relating to phone hacking was over."
He continued, stating that the royal family insisted they did not need to know anything about phone hacking and that their presence in the witness box could unravel a complex situation. Harry further accused the Institution of withholding information about NGN's phone hacking for a long time.
Harry is now pursuing a claim against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, in addition to claims against NGN and the publisher of the Mirror. He alleges that the company's newspapers targeted him through various illegal means, including voicemail interception, landline phone tapping, and improperly obtaining credit card records.
In his witness statement, Harry explained that he decided to sue Associated Newspapers because, in his opinion, if the most influential newspaper company could successfully evade justice, then the whole country would be in jeopardy. He added, "The evidence I have seen shows that Associated's journalists are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us. The British public deserves to know the full extent of this cover-up, and I feel it is my duty to expose it."
Harry is one of seven individuals bringing cases against the publisher of the Mail, alleging that the group's newspapers routinely broke the law to obtain stories. Associated Newspapers has countered these claims, describing them as "preposterous smears" and a "pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal."
Witness statements from other claimants, including Doreen Lawrence, Elton John, Liz Hurley, and Sadie Frost, outline allegations of illegality at Associated Newspapers and the harm they caused. Associated has dismissed all the claims as "preposterous smears."