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  1. Media Law
June 6, 2023

Prince Harry: Piers Morgan wanted to avenge Mirror by criticising Meghan

Prince Harry hits back at former Mirror editor Piers Morgan over Meghan criticism.

By Dominic Ponsford

Prince Harry has suggested that Piers Morgan‘s criticism of his wife Meghan was driven by revenge because of the estranged royal’s legal action against his former newspaper.

Morgan was sacked after ten years as editor of the Daily Mirror in 2004 and has not worked for the title since. After an acrimonious exit Morgan successfully sued the publisher himself for unfair dismissal.

Morgan was fired from ITV’s Good Morning Britain in March 2021 after he said on air that he did not believe a word the Duchess of Sussex said about her mental health in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Harry today gave evidence at the High Court in his legal battle with Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations of phone-hacking and illegal newsgathering.

Harry said in his statement: “Unfortunately, as a consequence of me bringing my Mirror Group claim, both myself and my wife have been subjected to a barrage of horrific personal attacks and intimidation from Piers Morgan, who was the editor of the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2004, presumably in retaliation and in the hope that I will back down, before being able to hold him properly accountable for his unlawful activity towards both me and my mother during his editorship.”

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He went on to suggest Morgan could have been involved in listening to his late mother’s private voicemail messages.

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He said in his witness statement that he was “shocked, disgusted and appalled” when he was shown three handwritten letters from his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, to entertainer Michael Barrymore.

He said: “They are dated 23 March, 25 April and 2 June 1997 respectively and convey my mother’s concerns for Mr Barrymore’s well-being and kindly offering him a shoulder to cry on.”

The court previously heard that Diana and Mr Barrymore had private meetings while the entertainer was “struggling” due to factors including treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.
The court was also previously told that former Mirror editor Piers Morgan referred to hearing rumours about the meetings between Diana and Mr Barrymore in his book The Insider.

In his written evidence, the duke said that it was “safe to assume” that his mother and Mr Barrymore would have been exchanging voicemails about their private meetings.

Harry said: “The thought of Piers Morgan and his band of journalists earwigging into my mother’s private and sensitive messages, in the same way as they have me, and then having given her a ‘nightmare time’ three months prior to her death in Paris, makes me feel physically sick and even more determined to hold those responsible, including Mr Morgan, accountable for their vile and entirely unjustified behaviour.”

Earlier in the day, Prince Harry alleged that journalists for the Mirror titles had made payments to private investigators for information about his late mother in the 1990s.

He said the articles which form the centre of his complaint made him paranoid, but he also said he could not remember reading them at the time.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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