Prince Harry Has ‘Torpedoed’ Relationship With Royals, Sources Say
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A friend of King Charles has told The Daily Beast that Prince Harry has “torpedoed any remaining bridges” with his family by accusing the monarchy of “conditioning” him and cynically “withholding information” about phone hacking from him so that he wouldn’t “open a can of worms” by appearing in court.
Of why Charles, along with Prince William, turned down the opportunity to see Harry this week, the friend of the king told The Daily Beast, “The trust is gone.”
Harry, along with six other claimants, including Sir Elton John, alleges Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publisher of the Daily Mail, invaded their privacy by using private detectives who intercepted their calls and voicemails and even put tracking and listening devices on cars and in homes. ANL denies all the allegations.
Prince Harry Tears Into Royals for ‘Withholding Information’ on Hacking
In an extraordinary witness statement entered into court records yesterday, Harry, who has been attending the opening sessions of the trial in person in London, alleged collusion between News Group Newspapers (publisher of The Times and the Sun) and his family, saying: “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.
“The Institution made it clear that we did not need to know anything about phone hacking and it was made clear to me that the royal family did not sit in the witness box because that could open up a can of worms.
“The Institution was without a doubt withholding information from me for a long time about NGN’s phone hacking and that has only become clear in recent years as I have pursued my own claim with different legal advice and representation.”
He made similar claims in his memoir, Spare and a six-part Netflix documentary series, alleging his family and their staff colluded with the press, on occasion selling him out to win favors for themselves.
A friend of the king told The Daily Beast: “Harry has torpedoed any remaining bridges with this statement. It is just six weeks until the coronation and the last thing Charles needs.”
Asked if they were surprised Charles had declined to meet Harry during his trip to the U.K., with his office briefing that he was “too busy” to do so, the friend said: “The trust is gone and I think that’s been made quite clear by the king refusing to meet him.”
Prince William, who also passed up on the opportunity to see his brother this week, is unlikely to be impressed by Harry’s efforts on behalf of the nation.
One friend told The Daily Beast: “William is over it at this stage. If this was about his vendetta with the Mail that would be one thing. But Harry keeps doing everything in his power to try and embarrass the family. How can you have a relationship with someone who is doing that?”
Harry’s appearance in court this week makes him the first royal to appear in a courtroom since Princess Anne admitted an offense relating to an out-of-control dog in 2002.
In another section of his witness statement he said he had only become aware of the extent of alleged hacking against him “in 2020 when I moved out of the United Kingdom.”
He went on: “There was never any centralized discussion between us about who had brought claims as each office in the Institution is siloed. There is this misconception that we are all in constant communication with one another but that is not true.”
Harry’s comments appear to be aimed at rebuffing an argument put forward by ANL that the claims are “stale.”
In another section of the witness statement he accused the palace of mentally “conditioning” him to not make a fuss, saying: “Following the death of my mother in 1997 when I was 12 years old and her treatment at the hands of the press, I have always had an uneasy relationship with the press. However, as a member of the Institution, the policy was to ‘never complain, never explain.’ There was no alternative; I was conditioned to accept it. For the most part, I accepted the interest in performing my public functions.”
Harry’s claims that the institution of monarchy essentially worked against him were met with weary dismay by palace insiders.
A former Buckingham Palace staffer who worked with Charles, William and Harry during their tenure told The Daily Beast: “All anyone at the palace ever tries to do is look after the principals. And yes, that might include encouraging them not to take legal action on a regular basis as it rarely turns out well for anyone. The royal family could spend their entire lives suing everybody if they wanted. It’s so unfair to suggest those people, most of whom spend their whole lives working very hard for the family, for very little reward or recognition, were conspiring against Harry.”
In another part of his statement, Harry gave an insight into what he described as the “siloed” nature of royal offices.
He said: “To this day, there are members of the Royal Family and friends of mine who may have been targeted by NGN and I have no idea whether they have or have not brought claims. There was never any centralized discussion between us about who had brought claims as each office in the Institution is siloed. There is this misconception that we are all in constant communication with one another, but that is not true.”
The former staffer said: “Harry and William shared an office and staff until 2019. The entire phone hacking investigation was actually triggered after details of a phone call between William and (TV journalist) Tom Bradby ended up in the News of the World. Harry knew about it.”
In the witness statement, Harry made it quite clear that his goal is to humble, maybe even bring down, Associated Newspapers, saying: “If the defendant, the owner of various national newspapers, including the Daily Mail which, by its own definition, is the most influential and popular newspaper in the U.K., can evade justice without there being a trial of my claims then what does that say about the industry as a whole and the consequences for our great country.
“Unfair is not a big enough word to describe the fact that Associated is trying at this early stage to prevent me from bringing my claim.
“If the most influential newspaper company can successfully evade justice, then in my opinion the whole country is doomed.”
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