Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

Prince Harry Says Tabloid Intrusion Caused His Chelsy Davy Breakup

Much of Harry’s case against Mirror Group Newspapers focuses on leaked details about his relationship with his former girlfriend Chelsy Davy, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur whom he dated on-and-off from early 2004 until mid-2010.

In written testimony filed to the High Court in London on Tuesday, Harry said his and Ms. Davy’s phones were repeatedly hacked while the two were dating. Harry and Ms. Davy, who were mostly in a long-distance relationship, would speak frequently by phone. Newspaper articles routinely mentioned private conversations between them that Mirror journalists would have not have been able to obtain other than through illicit means, he said.

Many of Harry’s accusations relate to tabloid coverage of his breakup with Ms. Davy, who is now married and named Chelsy Yvonne Cutmore-Scott. One article that he cites as evidence said that Ms. Davy gave him “a tongue-lashing down the phone” for flirting with another woman at a party. The details about their phone communications were not attributed to any sources, Harry said in the written testimony.

A second article described “an emotional phone call” in which Ms. Davy asked Harry for a trial separation. In another, a journalist reported that Harry had “slammed the phone down” on his father, Charles, after an argument about Ms. Davy.

“I trusted Chelsy with the most private of information,” he said in the statement. He remembered frequently seeing missed calls that he later came to believe were a sign of hacking.

Harry also said that he was at a “complete loss” as to how private details were obtained of his and Ms. Davy’s vacations off the coast of Mozambique, and that journalists and photographers would arrive at their hotel even before they did. He said the two of them were never on their own, away from “the prying eyes of the tabloids,” which badly strained their relationship and was “the main factor” in why they decided to end it.

“We could also never understand how private elements of our life together were finding their way into the tabloids, and so our circle of friends became smaller and smaller,” he said. “I remember finding it very hard to trust anyone, which led to bouts of depression and paranoia,” adding that he regrets cutting friends out of his life because he feared they had been sources of leaks.

Lawyers for the publisher have argued that most of Harry’s claims related to articles published from 1991 to 2011 and lie well beyond the six-year time limit that generally applies to legal complaints of privacy violations. One of the company’s lawyers, Andrew Green, also said in court on Tuesday that “there was no need for the Daily Mirror journalists to use unlawful means” because information about Harry had been published by other news outlets, an assertion that Harry challenged.

Jenny Gross is a general assignment reporter. Before joining The Times, she covered British politics for The Wall Street Journal. @jggross

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