Prince Harry Was a Victim of Phone Hacking by the 'Mirror' Publishers, Court Rules

This is a partial victory for the Duke of Sussex.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the 2023 Invictus Games
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Harry was the victim of phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), a judge has ruled as part of the Duke of Sussex' court case against the publisher. This ruling constitutes a partial victory for the royal, who is currently involved in several other court cases in which he alleges invasions of privacy on the part of British tabloids.

Harry has been awarded £140,600 (roughly $180,000) in damages as part of the ruling, according to a press summary. The presiding judge, Justice Timothy Fancourt, referred to this settlement as "modest," which presumably is because Harry was originally seeking £440,000 in damages.

"I have found the Duke’s case of voicemail interception and unlawful information gathering proved in part only," Justice Fancourt wrote in his statement.

"I found that 15 out of the 33 articles that were tried were the product of phone hacking of his mobile phone or the mobile phones of his associates, or the product of other unlawful information gathering.

"I consider that his phone was only hacked to a modest extent, and that this was probably carefully controlled by certain people at each newspaper. However, it did happen on occasions from about the end of 2003 to April 2009 (which was the date of the last article that I examined).

"There was a tendency for the Duke in his evidence to assume that everything published was the product of voicemail interception because phone hacking was rife within Mirror Group at the time. But phone hacking was not the only journalistic tool at the time, and his claims in relation to the other 18 articles did not stand up to careful analysis."

Prince Harry Court Case Enters Final Day

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Harry's lawyer David Sherborne said in a statement (via the Guardian), "Today is a great day for truth, as well as accountability.

"The court has ruled that unlawful and criminal activities were carried out at all three Mirror group newspaper titles—the Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People—on a habitual and widespread basis for over more than a decade.

"This case is not just about hacking—it is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behaviour, followed by cover-ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings."

A spokesperson for MGN said, "We welcome today’s judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago. Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologize unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation."

The outcome of this case could have significant implications for British media moving forward.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.