Prince Harry Slams Tabloids' "Vile Behavior" That Sent Him Into a "Downward Spiral" in Court Witness Statement

The Duke of Sussex is testifying at the High Court on Tuesday.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrives to give evidence at the Mirror Group phone hacking trial at the Rolls Building of the High Court on June 6, 2023 in London, England. Prince Harry is one of several claimants in a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers related to allegations of unlawful information gathering in previous decades.
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty)

Prince Harry has arrived at the High Court in London, where he is being cross-examined in his case against Mirror Group Newspapers, in which he accuses the publisher of unlawful information gathering via phone hacking, among other methods.

In his witness statement, seen by BBC News, the Duke of Sussex went into detail about something he's spoken about at length in recent months: his relationship with the British tabloids, especially during his childhood and teenage years.

The duke claimed that his famous antics as a young man were partly the result of trying to fit into the role the newspapers had already cast him in, i.e. as an out-of-control party boy, more or less.

"In my experience as a member of the Royal Family, each of us gets cast into a specific role by the tabloid press," Harry said.

"You start off as a blank canvas while they work out what kind of person you are and what kind of problems and temptations you might have.

"They then start to edge you towards playing the role or roles that suit them best and which sells as many newspapers as possible."

As such, he explained, "As a teenager and in my early twenties, I ended up feeling as though I was playing up to a lot of the headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to pin on me mainly because I thought that, if they are printing this rubbish about me and people were believing it, I may as well 'do the crime,' so to speak.

"It was a downward spiral, whereby the tabloids would constantly try and coax me, a 'damaged' young man, into doing something stupid that would make a good story and sell lots of newspapers.

"Looking back on it now, such behavior on their part is utterly vile."

Court proceedings for this case began in early May. At the time, Mirror Group alleged that certain tabloid stories about Prince Harry came directly from members of the Royal Family—corroborating a claim that Harry himself had made in his Netflix docuseries in December.

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 British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. 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.