Prince Harry feels like his teenage years were taken away from him.
The Duke of Sussex traveled back to the United Kingdom to be present for a trial against Associated Newspapers Limited or ANL.
Harry was joined by Sir Elton John, John’s partner David Furnish, Sadie Frost and Doreen Baroness Lawrence in London’s High Court on Monday.
According to court documents obtained by The Independent, Harry felt “largely deprived” of his youth due to ANL, the publisher behind the Daily Mail.
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Barrister David Sherbone said on Harry’s behalf that he is “troubled that, through Associated’s unlawful acts, he was largely deprived of important aspects of his teenage years.”
Sherbone continued, “In particular, suspicion and paranoia was caused by Associated’s publication of the unlawful articles: friends were lost or cut off as a result and everyone became a ‘suspect’ since he was misled by the way that the articles were written into believing that those close to him were the source of this information being provided to Associated’s newspapers.
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“The claimant regards Associated’s unlawful acts to amount to a major betrayal given promises made by the media to improve its conduct following the tragic and untimely death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997,” he concluded.
This is just one of several lawsuits that Harry has brought against the British media.
He’s also suing Associated Newspapers for defamation over an article from Mail on Sunday that was titled “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret… then – just minutes after the story broke – his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.”
Prince Harry claimed Mail on Sunday’s implication that the Duke of Sussex lied in his initial statements regarding the security lawsuit libeled him.
ANL considers the allegations to be “preposterous smears,” per the BBC.
The individuals involved in the suit believe their privacy was taken from them by unlawful information gathering, such as phone tapping, from the publisher.
According to the BBC, ANL obtained Sir Elton John’s child’s birth certificate before he had even seen it and his landline at his home in Windsor was tapped.
“They are also mortified to consider all their conversations, some of which were very personal indeed, were tapped, taped, packaged and consumed as a commercial product for journalists and unknown others to pick over, regardless of whether or not they were published,” Sherbone said, per The Independent.
He added, “They were heartbroken by the derogatory headline that Associated attached to it, clearly calculated to profit and generate public sensation about an event that they had so carefully guarded to keep precious.”
The four-day hearing, which began Monday morning, is a preliminary hearing where a judge will decide if the case will go to trial.
According to the outlets, ANL does not want the case to go to trial.
Sherbone also spoke on behalf of Lawrence who he claimed felt “anger, shock and upset” by being the focal point of The Mail in 1993.
Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack while waiting at a bus stop in London.
According to court documents obtained by The Independent, Sharbone advocated that Lawrence “never once suspected Associated” of any wrongdoing because of her “trust in the paper.”
Lawrence “now sees that the Daily Mail’s true interests were about self-promotion and using her and her son’s murder as a means to generate ‘exclusive’ headlines, sell newspapers, and to profit.”
She says the publishing company illegally monitored her bank account and intercepted her voicemail. The ANL also allegedly issued “corrupt payments to serving Metropolitan Police Service police officers, including on the Stephen Lawrence murder investigations, for confidential information.”
Adrian Beltrami KC, a lawyer for ANL, says the allegations are “too late” and the claims are “largely inferential.”
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“Those claims, which relate to matters said to have taken place as early as 1993, and for the most part in the first decade of this century, are undeniably prima facie time-barred,” Beltrami said.
Following the first day of the preliminary hearing, a spokesperson for ANL told The Independent, “While the Mail’s admiration for Baroness Lawrence remains undimmed, we are profoundly saddened that she has been persuaded to bring this case.
“The Mail remains hugely proud of its pivotal role in campaigning for justice for Stephen Lawrence. Its famous ‘Murderers’ front page triggered the Macpherson report.
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“Associated Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, vigorously denies all the claims against it,” the statement concluded.