Imagine you’re a member of the royal rota and regularly getting briefings from senior palace officials and courtiers. You could simply print what they say and keep the pretense of their anonymity… OR you could write about the larger narratives at play, and describe how Buckingham Palace officials are openly briefing against this royal or that one and why that is. This is one of the issues at play in Prince Harry’s many lawsuits against the British tabloids – while the papers got tons of information about Harry through criminal means (blagging, bribery and phone-hacking), they also got tons of information on Harry through his father’s office at Clarence House and through Camilla’s network. Instead of writing about how curious it was that Clarence House’s comms guru Mark Bolland was giving off-the-record briefings about a then-teenaged Harry, the royal rota just ran with whatever Bolland told them.

As Prince Harry’s civil trial against the Mirror Group Newspapers (publisher of the Daily Mirror) began this week, there’s already been some interesting positioning from both sides. While the Mirror’s lawyers admitted that some of their reporting came from criminal means – and they already apologized for it – they also said that many of their reports came from then-Prince Charles’s office or other royal courts.

Tabloid newspaper stories about the Duke of Sussex came from other members of the royal family, the high court was told today. Prince Harry claims he was the victim of unlawful information-gathering by the publisher of the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2011. He says the King and his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, were also targeted, as were former girlfriends, leading to “huge bouts of depression and paranoia”.

Andrew Green KC, representing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), told the court the publisher “unreservedly apologises” for the use of a private investigator for one story about Harry but denies that 28 of a sample of 33 articles about the duke involved unlawful activity.

“Many came from information disclosed by or on behalf of royal households or members of the royal family,” Green said in a written statement. One of the articles came from an “on-the-record interview given by [Harry]”.

David Sherborne told the court: “We all remember the images of [Harry] walking behind his mother’s coffin. “From that moment on, as a schoolboy and from his career in the army and as a young adult, he was subjected, it was clear, to the most intrusive methods of obtaining his personal information.”

Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom, a book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, claims as a journalism student he spent a week at the showbiz desk of The People and “was given a list of mobile telephone numbers and a verbal description of how to listen to voicemails, as if it were a routine newsgathering technique”.

[From The Times of London]

While I have every faith in Harry and his legal team that they have extensive evidence of the Mirror’s illegal activity, I also think that the Mirror blaming it on palace briefings is a win-win for Harry. Yes, he’s got enough to prove that the Mirror employed illegal methods to gather information on him (thus proving his case), but he might also get some answers about just how badly his father’s office was briefing against him when he was a teenager and in his early 20s. It would be a hilarious turnabout if the Mirror’s defense is actually naming the courtiers leaking sh-t about Harry all of his life.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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