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Prince Harry testifies he was kept in the dark about wiretapping allegations

Prince Harry has testified in a UK court that years of ignoring the Associated Papers privacy breach allegations has created feelings of paranoia and strained personal relationships.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is in court this week as one of several high profile names suing Associated Papers, owner of the Daily Mail, over allegations of wiretapping and other privacy breaches . The publisher has denied all allegations of wrongdoing in the lawsuit.

In a written filing of his testimony, Harry said he was unaware of the alleged Associated Papers invasions until 2019, when he sought legal advice outside of the Royal Family.

Harry and his wife, Meghan, have sued News Group Newspapers Limited and Associated Papers in recent years.

“In investigating my claim, I have been made aware of extensive evidence of wrongdoing and subsequent cover-ups at Associated which demonstrates that he not only acted outside the law, but that he believes he is above her,” Harry said in his testimony. “I am determined to hold Associated accountable, for the good of all.”

Harry alleged his lawyers learned from private investigators working for Associated Papers that he admitted to practices including hacking voicemails, tapping landlines and obtaining card statements credit. The targets were Harry, his friends and any potential romantic partners in his life, he said.

The prince’s legal team has evidence that it started as early as 2001 and continued until at least 2013, according to his testimony.

The Associated Papers refuted the allegations, saying in a statement Tuesday that the allegations appear to be based on an “alleged confession” by a private investigator. The publisher said the investigator now denies having been instructed to illegally gather information on behalf of Associated Papers.

Harry spoke of the relentless coverage of him and his former girlfriend Chelsy Davy on vacation and how the leaked information created a “terrifying” situation for the former couple.

“Their behavior and treatment of Chelsy was not normal,” Harry wrote. “I was afraid that Chelsy would run in the opposite direction or be chased and harassed to death.”

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday.Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

Harry said he had gone to “extreme” lengths to protect his and his girlfriend’s privacy, but ultimately continued invasions into his personal life made relationships “impossible”.

He also alleges that those looking after the interests of the Royal Family, called the Institution, kept him in the dark about all the details of the alleged wiretaps. Harry brought up the News of the World wiretapping case, saying family representatives did not want to implicate the princes.

“The institution made it clear that we didn’t need to know anything about the phone hacking and it was made clear to me that the Royal Family did not sit in the witness box because it could open a Pandora’s box,” Harry said.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Tuesday.

Harry and his wife stepped down as senior members of the Royal Family in 2020.

Harry won the right to sue the Associated Papers last year, alleging a newspaper report about his battle with the UK government over its security arrangements was defamatory.

The High Court in London also ruled in his wife’s favor against Associated Papers in 2021 after Meghan sued parts of a private letter which were published in The Mail on Sunday and on MailOnline.

Judge Mark Warby wrote in his decision that Meghan “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private” and that the articles had “interfered with that reasonable expectation”.

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