5 Moments From Prince Harry's Court Testimony That Stunned Us

As the second son to Princess Diana and then-Prince Charles, Prince Harry has been in the spotlight for much of his life. Princess Diana did what she could to help ensure that her sons had as much of a regular upbringing as she could given the circumstances, and that included trying to protect their privacy when they were out and about in the world. There's a clip in the Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan" of Princess Diana approaching paparazzi while she was on a Switzerland ski trip with her sons, asking them to "Please leave. As a parent, could I ask you to respect my children's space?" And that was hardly the only time that Princess Diana and her sons had to deal with the media.

The complicated relationship between the royal family, the paparazzi, and the media is taking center stage during the trial for the lawsuit that Prince Harry and over 100 other individuals have filed against Mirror Group Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mirror. And while Harry was a no-show on day one of the trial against Mirror Group Newspapers — and Harry's absence left the judge unimpressed — he took the stand to face questions about the alleged illegal practices of the British media. These are the most stunning moments from his testimony.

Prince Harry takes aim at UK press for causing his 'downward spiral'

On the second day of the trial, Prince Harry took the stand to answer questions from the opposition's lawyer. He outlined what it was like dealing with the press publishing stories about him that were negative and one-sided as he was growing up, and he specifically called them out for leading him down a negative path. In a written statement, he described how it felt to him, calling it, "a downward spiral, whereby the tabloids would constantly try and coax me, a 'damaged' young man, into doing something stupid that would make a good story and sell lots of newspapers."

He noted that he felt the press preyed upon him and he felt like he was written about in terms of negative stereotypes, like "the 'playboy prince', the 'failure', the 'drop out' or, in my case, the 'thicko', the 'cheat', the 'underage drinker', the 'irresponsible drug taker', the list goes on." What made the stories so damaging was that Harry then leaned into what people seemed to think about him: "I thought that, if they are printing this rubbish about me and people were believing it, I may as well 'do the crime', so to speak."

Prince Harry brings up the rumors over his paternity

Rumors have persisted over the years that Prince Harry's real father is James Hewitt and not King Charles. And for Harry, we learned from his testimony that he didn't realize they were just rumors until 2014. For Harry, he said that the publication's stories that hinted that King Charles wasn't his real father "felt very damaging and very real to me. They were hurtful, mean and cruel. I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so I might be ousted from the Royal Family?"

The basis of the rumors seemed to come from the fact that Hewitt worked for a time as Princess Diana's riding instructor, and they also had an affair while she was married to Prince Charles, according to Town & Country. Hewitt spilled the tea about his affair with Diana, which was then published in the book called "Princess in Love." In it, he said that the affair lasted between 1986 and 1991. Harry was born in 1984, so Hewitt being Harry's father seems to be an impossibility. But the rumors continued in newspapers, including one article that Harry noted in his testimony which involved trying to get a sample of his DNA to see who his real father was. And the journalists, according to Harry's testimony, knew the timeline meant that Hewitt couldn't be Harry's biological father.

Prince Harry said the press negatively impacted his relationship with Prince William

The rift between Prince Harry and Prince William has been ongoing for a few years now, and Harry has noted that he doesn't regularly talk to his brother anymore. This may have been due to the fact that Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from royal duties, and it doesn't seem to have been helped by the publication of Harry's memoir "Spare," which contained a number of startling revelations about the royal family. But from Harry's testimony, we found out that the press reporting may have had a hand in some of the conflict between the brothers.

Harry brought up an article published in "The People" that discussed the brothers privately disagreeing about a meeting with Paul Burrell, former butler for Princess Diana. The details about the disagreement Harry believed may have come from a voicemail that he left for his brother, so definitely not something that was meant for the public. Reporting on the disagreement wasn't good for Harry's relationship with William; he said that "This type of article seeds distrust between brothers."

The press played a role in Prince Harry's breakup with Chelsy Davy

Before Prince Harry met and married Meghan Markle, he dated Chelsy Davy on and off for years. Davy came up in Harry's testimony, with Harry blaming the paparazzi and press privacy violations for playing a role in their breakup (per The New York Times). Harry came with receipts for the times that he felt that the press had illegally accessed information about him and about his relationship with Davy. He brought up one article that detailed Davy telling him off over the phone about being seen at a party with another girl, something that he felt could only have been discovered via phone hacking. Other personal details about his relationship with Davy ended up in the press over the years, and Harry thought that there was no legal way they could have gotten that information. Harry also said that there was one potential love interest that was warned off of dating him considering the hassle and harassment of the press.

Harry noted in his written statement that he was close with Davy, but they were mostly long-distance, so they often spoke on the phone. He said that the two of them "naturally spoke about all types of personal matters, including all aspects of our relationship and this was often through voicemail." So, her phone would be a goldmine for anyone trying to dig up dirt on Harry.

Prince Harry called out Piers Morgan by name

Piers Morgan has seemingly made it his mission to bring down Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in recent years; he even quit "Good Morning Britain" in 2021 after the weather reporter called out Morgan for his continued bashing of Markle on the show. But it wasn't just Morgan's treatment of Meghan that Harry brought up in court.

Morgan worked as an editor for the Daily Mirror during a time when Princess Diana was speaking with Michael Barrymore, an English actor and comedian, during a stressful time in Barrymore's life. Articles about Diana and Barrymore's conversations were then published in the Daily Mirror, and Harry said that "the thought of Piers Morgan and his band of journalists earwigging into my mother's private and sensitive messages ... makes me physically sick." And part of why Harry is pursuing the lawsuit has to do with Morgan. Harry went on to say that he is "determined to hold those responsible, including Mr. Morgan, accountable for their vile and entirely unjustified behavior." There's no love lost there, that's for sure.