A legal victory on the horizon? Prince Harry’s trial against the Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged phone hacking is underway — and one legal expert thinks he has a good chance of winning.
“You never know what a judge is gonna do, but I would expect that he will be awarded significant damages because this is pretty outrageous, their conduct,” Neama Rahmani, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, exclusively told Us Weekly of the 38-year-old prince’s lawsuit against the media company.
The Duke of Sussex is suing the Mirror Group — which publishes U.K. tabloids including the Daily Mirror — for allegedly unlawfully gathering information about him by accessing his voicemail messages between 1996 and 2011. His 55-page written witness statement was released on Tuesday, June 6, before he took the stand for the first time.
Rahmani told Us that the lengthy statement helped bolster Harry’s case. “I’m sure he prepared it with the help of his lawyers to really show how he was affected by this hacking. You know, how personal this information was,” the attorney said. “My prediction is that the prince is gonna get a significant award. … I mean, this really crosses the line in terms of reporting — hacking someone’s phone. That’s something that’s unlawful.”
Harry took the stand for the first time on Tuesday after missing the trial’s opening statements on Monday, June 6. His lawyer explained his absence to the court, noting that he was traveling to London after celebrating his and wife Meghan Markle’s daughter Lilibet’s 2nd birthday at their home in California. (The couple, who wed in 2018, also share son Archie, 4).
During his first day of testifying, the BetterUp CIO received pushback from Mirror Group Newspapers lawyer Andrew Green after telling the court he was “not sure” whose phone was allegedly hacked when a story about him injuring his thumb appeared in the press in 2000.
Green responded to the admission: “Are we not, Prince Harry, in the realms of total speculation?” The duke then replied that he was “not the one who wrote the article.”
The moment was not Green’s first time accusing the prince of speculating. Earlier in the proceedings, Harry suggested that his school landline could have been hacked while he was talking to his late mother, Princess Diana. “That’s just speculation you’ve come up with now,” Green told the Spare author in response.
Despite some tense exchanges with Green, the Archewell cofounder has seemingly maintained a jovial demeanor amid the trial, walking out of London’s High Court on Tuesday, June 7, smiling and waving at cameras. One day prior, he reportedly ended his first day of testimony with a cheeky joke, asking whether his instructions not to discuss trial evidence with anyone applied to his children, whom he might connect with via FaceTime call, per Newsweek.
Harry’s reported attempt to lighten the mood aside, the trial has also forced him to recount difficult memories. On Tuesday, he testified about his relationship with Caroline Flack, who died by suicide in 2020. In his written witness statement, Harry recalled beginning to doubt Flack and his friend Mark Dyer after the press found out about a 2009 poker night he had with friends.
“Only Marko, Caroline and I knew of the plans, there was only a couple of other people invited and I don’t think they knew that Caroline would be joining us,” he wrote, noting that he became “highly suspicious” that someone had leaked information to the press.
He continued: “I now believe this information had come from our voicemails — mine, Marko’s or Caroline’s. The impact these kinds of stories had on my relationships cannot be underestimated. Even those I trusted the most, I ended up doubting.”
Harry and the late Love Island host were briefly linked in 2009, although the former senior royal wrote in Spare that unwanted media attention kept them from ever seriously dating.
“I continued to see Flack on and off, but we didn’t feel free anymore. We kept on, I think, because we genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and because we didn’t want to admit defeat at the hands of these arseholes,” he penned in the January 2023 memoir. “But the relationship was tainted, irredeemably, and in time we realized it just wasn’t worth the grief and harassment. Especially for her family. Goodbye, we said. Goodbye and good luck.”
Flack is not Harry’s only ex-flame that has come up during the ongoing trial. On Tuesday, the Eton College alum testified about his relationship with Chelsy Davy, whom he dated on and off from 2004 to 2010. In his written statement, Harry blamed press intrusion for causing Davy, 37, to realize that “a royal life was not for her, which was incredibly upsetting for me at the time.”