The 33 tabloid articles at centre of Prince Harry's hacking claim

The 33 Tabloid Articles At Centre Of Prince Harry's Hacking Claim
A newspaper article about Prince Harry from 2007. Photo: Court handout/PA Media
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By PA High Court Staff

A host of articles about Britain's Prince Harry are at the centre of his legal battle with the publisher of the Daily Mirror.

Harry alleges 147 stories from 1996 to 2010, published by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) titles, used information obtained through unlawful means, such as phone hacking.


The articles cover the duke’s relationship with his family and ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, a few injuries and illnesses, his military service and allegations of drug use.

Some 33 articles, dated between 1996 and 2009, were selected for examination during the trial of Harry’s contested claim against MGN.

MGN has told the trial in London that it denies that 28 out of the 33 articles involved unlawful information gathering and that it was not admitted for the remaining five articles.

The publisher claims the stories came from a range of sources, including information disclosed by royal households or other royals, freelance journalists and news agencies as well as confidential sources with “extensive” royal contacts.


Here is an overview of what has been said in evidence about the 33 articles:

Princess Diana visits Leicester
Diana, the Princess of Wales, was the focus of one of the articles the duke complains about (John Stillwell/PA)

“Diana so sad on Harry’s big day”. Daily Mirror. September 16th, 1996.


This article covered a visit by Diana, Princess of Wales, to Ludgrove School for the duke’s 12th birthday and said she was crying.

In his evidence, the duke said that the piece’s author was a known user of a private investigator firm which he alleges used unlawful information gathering.

However, MGN said the information came from previous reports in the public domain. They also said Diana’s spokesperson had confirmed that Harry was going to be visited, with other details coming from members of the public who saw the visit.

“Princes take to the hills for gala”. Daily Mirror. July 17th, 2000.


This piece reported that Harry and his brother, William, now Prince of Wales, were going rock-climbing rather than attending a gala for the late Queen Mother.

Harry told the court on Tuesday that he believed the details came from phone hacking, while the publisher said that the information comes from prior reports in the public domain, including an article in the Daily Mail two days before, as well as from a St James’ Palace spokesperson.

“3am – Harry’s time at the bar”. Daily Mirror. September 19th, 2000.

The article described the duke’s visit to a gastropub in Chelsea, London, for his 16th birthday with friends.


Harry said he did not know how anyone would have known about the plans, saying he “always found these kind of ‘coincidences’ to be odd”, while MGN said that an agency had been tipped off that the duke was in the restaurant and that Mirror journalists spoke to the owner, chef Ed Baines, without any unlawful activity.

“Snap… Harry breaks thumb like William; Exclusive”. Daily Mirror. November 11th, 2000.

A piece reported that Harry had chipped a bone in his thumb and had a minor operation following an accident during a game of football.

The duke said he found the level of detail in the story as “surprising” and that he believed the palace had been approached for comment rather than being a source. However, MGN said the information was in the public domain and had been repeatedly reported the previous day.

ROYAL Highgrove 9
Charles, William and Harry in 1999 (Toby Melville/PA)

“Rugger off Harry”. Sunday Mirror. November 11th, 2000.

The duke’s claim also includes this article, which described an injury he had suffered while playing polo, which had resulted in him having to stop playing rugby.

Harry said the article is “brazen” and attributes some details to an unnamed royal source despite there being no comment from the palace, while MGN said the information came from a “confidential Eton source” with no evidence of unlawful information gathering.

“Harry took drugs” and “Cool it Harry”. Sunday Mirror. January 13th, 2002.

This article contained allegations that Harry had smoked cannabis.

Harry said while it was a follow-up story to articles in the News of the World, there were invoices concerning his friend Guy Pelly and people connected to the story at the time. MGN deny any unlawful information gathering and said that news agencies, a freelance journalist and a source were paid for the articles.

“Harry’s cocaine ecstasy and GHB parties”. The Mirror. January 14th, 2002.

This front page story claimed that some of the duke’s friends had taken “hard drugs” in front of him, including ecstasy, cocaine and GHB, reporting that the Prince of Wales – now the King – was “terrified”.

Harry said in his evidence “it is not clear to me where the defendant’s journalists could have possibly obtained these quotes from.” However, MGN deny unlawful activity and said there is no evidence of phone hacking.

“Harry’s sick with kissing disease”. Daily Mirror. March 29th, 2002.

This piece covered Harry’s diagnosis with glandular fever, and that he was being teased by his friends and brother.

The duke said he does not know how anyone outside his family knew this and that he thinks the palace “responded to information that was put to them”. However, MGN said it is likely the information was “discreetly” released by the palace to avoid extra attention on the royals while they were on holiday.

Royal Skiing Holiday
Harry, at a planned photocall at the start of a holiday (Toby Melville/PA)

“No Eton trifles for Harry, 18”. September 16th, 2002.

This article described how the duke spent his 18th birthday, which included lunch with his family.

The publisher said the information came from an interview with the Press Association, now known as the PA news agency, for Harry’s 18th birthday, while the duke said he was “obliged” to give the interview and described it as “an ideal occasion for anyone listening into my messages to continue to do so”.

“Matured Harry is a godfather”. The People. April 20th, 2003.

A piece describing how the duke was asked to be the godfather to the nephew of his former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.

The duke said he was not sure where quotes from a “royal insider” about Charles’s thoughts on the matter came from and alleged MGN had hacked his former nanny’s or her partner’s phone, but MGN said the piece was a “rewrite” of a Sunday Telegraph column sold by a freelance journalist.

“Harry to lead cadet’s march”. Daily Mirror. April 29th, 2003.

An article describing Harry being given the role of Parade Commander at the Combined Cadet Force tattoo at Eton.

The duke said that the article’s author is known to have commissioned private investigators and that “at least one” of his articles is an admitted example of unlawful information gathering. However, MGN said the information was released by St James’ Palace.

“Harry is ready to quit Oz”. Daily Mirror. September 27th, 2003.

A page seven story reported that the duke was considering leaving his gap year in Australia due to press intrusion.

Harry said evidence indicates that MGN was paying to have him watched as the piece describes that he was inside “watching videos”, while the publisher said the information came from press statements by Clarence House, and also appeared in other outlets.

“Beach bum Harry”. Daily Mirror. December 16th, 2003.

MGN phone hacking trial
One of the Daily Mirror articles Prince Harry is suing MGN over (Court handout/PA)

A story on page 19 of the paper reported a visit by Harry to an Australian beach.

The duke said that while the beach was public, it was not busy and he did not know how anyone would have known he was there, while MGN said the details were provided by an Australian freelance photographer and were previously published in the Evening Standard.

“Wills.. Seeing Burrell is only way to stop him selling more Diana secrets. Harry no.. Burrell’s a two-faced s*** who’ll use visit to make money”. The People. December 28th, 2003.

A double-page article reported a disagreement between Harry and his brother William, now Prince of Wales, about whether to meet former royal butler Paul Burrell over his “ongoing exposes about our mother”.

Harry said the article’s author was a “habitual commissioner of private investigators” and that the reported phrase “two-face shit” to describe Mr Burrell could have been taken from a voicemail, while MGN claimed the information came from a “confidential source who specialised in royal matters” and there was no evidence of phone hacking.

MGN phone hacking trial
A newspaper article about the Duke of Sussex published in The People (Court handout/PA)

Harry is a Chelsy fan”. Daily Mirror. November 29th, 2004.

An article showing a picture of Chelsy Davy, whom the duke had started dating.

Harry said the story’s author was a “prolific” user of private investigators who were known phone hackers, while MGN said the details came from a previous report in the Mail on Sunday, as well as two confidential sources.

“When Harry met Daddy… The biggest danger to wildlife in Africa”. Daily Mirror. December 13th, 2004.

A piece reporting that Harry had been introduced to Ms Davy’s father the day before publication and that he was on holiday in Mozambique.

The duke said his travel plans were kept private for security reasons, while the publisher said the information was in the public domain.

“Harry’s girl ‘to dump him’”. Daily Mirror. January 15th, 2005.

In this double page article, the piece reported that Harry was “about to be dumped” by Ms Davy and that she had given the duke a “tongue-lashing down the phone”.

Harry said it was “obvious” that MGN journalists were “digging round” his associates, while MGN said the details for the piece came from the public domain and a confidential source.

“Chelsy is not happy”. Daily Mirror. January 15th, 2005.

MGN phone hacking trial
A 2005 Daily Mirror article about the duke’s relationship with Ms Davy (Court handout/PA)

An article claiming that Ms Davy was “furious” that the duke “flirted with a mystery brunette” at a party at which he wore a “Nazi swastika armband” and that she “gave him a tongue-lashing down the phone”.

Harry claimed call data shows journalists were “digging round my associates to gain private information about me” and questioned how journalists knew about his calls with Ms Davy, but MGN said the information came from prior public reports and a confidential source.

“You did what!” Sunday Mirror. February 6th, 2005.

A story about the person who denied selling pictures of the Duke “dressed as a Nazi” at a party to a newspaper.

Harry said details of how his father decided to “punish” him were not part of a public apology and claims MGN used “unlawful techniques” to gather information, while MGN said information came from prior reports and a confidential source.

“Who dares Windsors”. Daily Mirror. March 4th, 2005.

A report about Harry and his brother getting their own private secretary, a “tough former SAS commando” Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.

Harry said he is “very suspicious” over quotes from “unidentified ‘friends’, and ‘ex-colleagues’ of Jamie’s”, but MGN denied unlawful information gathering and said Mr Lowther-Pinkerton’s appointment was officially announced by Clarence House.

“Chelsy’s gap EIIR”. The People. April 24th, 2005.

This article said Ms Davy was taking a “gap year” from her university studies “to be with her young royal lover”.

Harry said the level of detail in the story is “disturbing” and that copies of the couple’s phone records were obtained, but MGN said the information came from a news agency, that there is no evidence of phone hacking and that details in the article were “trivial”.

“Harry carry!” The People. May 15th, 2005.

MGN phone hacking trial
Another article examined in the trial of Harry’s claim against MGN (Court handout/PA)

A story alleging that cadets at Sandhurst were “furious” the duke had been “let off gruelling runs” after hurting his knee.

The duke said he was “not going around freely discussing any medical issues or injuries” and believed information came from unlawful information gathering, while MGN said much of it came from a confidential source and that there was no evidence of phone hacking.

“Chel shocked”. The People. April 9th, 2006.

An article claiming that Ms Davy “blew her top” when she found out about Harry’s “boozy evening at a lap-dancing club”.

The duke alleged it “seems likely” that MGN’s journalists “had access to one of our phone records” to make the story, but the publisher said there is no evidence of phone hacking and that information came from freelance journalists – one of whom used a confidential source – and a news agency.

“Davy stated”. The People. September 16th, 2007.

A story about Harry’s relationship with Ms Davy being “in crisis” after a “string of bitter bust-ups”.

The duke said information attributed to a palace source was obtained unlawfully and that the couple’s voicemails were hacked, while MGN claimed there is no evidence of phone hacking.

“Hooray Harry’s dumped”. Sunday Mirror. November 11th, 2007.

An article about the duke going on a “£2k vodka” binge in a London nightclub after his “split” from Ms Davy.

Harry said paparazzi “seemed to know exactly where I was” and questioned how the article could have know about his “fall out” with Ms Davy. MGN said information came from a News of the World story, that there was no phone hacking evidence and that it did not know whether a private investigator invoice related to the article.

“Down in the dumped”. Daily Mirror. November 12th, 2007.

MGN phone hacking trial
A Sunday Mirror reporting on the duke’s “break-up” with Ms Davy (Court handout/PA)A story about Harry putting on “a brave face” after Ms Davy “fled” the country amid their “break-up” and her request for a “trial separation”.

The duke told the court that at the time he and Ms Davy “were not sharing anything with anyone” and that information could have been obtained through a voicemail, but MGN said information came from prior press reports

“Er, OK if I drop you off here?” Sunday Mirror. December 2nd, 2007.

This article claimed that a photo of Ms Davy leaving Kensington Palace was “proof” the duke had “patched things up” with her.

Harry questioned “what are the chances” that a photographer was there to capture the moment, adding that MGN made a “mind boggling” amount of inquiries and payments. The publisher said there is no evidence of phone hacking and that the duke had “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in dropping Ms Davy off outside the palace gates.

“Harry fear as mobile is swiped”. Daily Mirror. July 26th, 2008.

An article about the duke’s mobile phone being “stolen” at a nightclub in Lesotho, which was returned two days later.

Harry said he did not understand how MGN knew his contacts or texts were not accessed after the pickpocketing, while the publisher denied phone hacking or unlawful activity and said information in the story came from prior press reports.

“Soldier Harry’s Taliban”. The People. September 28th, 2008.

An article claiming Harry had been “banned from going back to war” in Afghanistan, despite his “desperation” to return.

The duke alleged details were obtained by “unlawful means” and that people with the information would not want to “jeopardise my career by speaking about it”, but the publisher said there is no evidence of phone hacking and the “public interest” in the story outweighed “any minimal privacy interest”.

“He just loves boozing & army she is fed up & is heading home”. Sunday Mirror. January 25th, 2009.

This report said that Ms Davy had “dumped” Harry because he “loves the Army more than her”.

The duke alleged journalists “did not obtain this exclusive story from lawful means”, while MGN said information primarily came from two news agencies paid £950 in total and prior reports. The publisher said it does not know what a £100 contribution request from a private investigator’s company related to.

“3am: What a way to Harry on”. Daily Mirror. March 26th, 2009.

This article claimed Harry “openly cavorted” with a new girlfriend at a Twickenham rugby match.

The duke says details in the article are incorrect and that payments to a private investigator show the woman was of interest to MGN, while the publisher said information came from a prior Press Association report.

“Harry’s date with Gladiators star”. The People. April 19th, 2009.

A story about the duke leaving a party with the late TV presenter Caroline Flack.

The duke said he was “shocked” and “livid” that photographers knew they where they would be and that he believed information from his, a friend’s or Ms Flack’s voicemails, while MGN said it came from a photo agency and that there is no evidence of phone hacking.

“Chelsy’s new fella”. The People. April 26th, 2009.

The article reported on the duke being “devastated” when told by Ms Davy that she had “found someone else” and that he had been “bombarding” her with calls “to win her back”.

Harry claimed reports of the calls were “very suspicious” and it was something he would not have told anyone, while MGN said there is no evidence of phone hacking which “had stopped, or been largely cut back” at the time.

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