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May 4, 2023

Tina Brown: Prince Harry’s jihad against the tabloids is justified

The Palace Papers author says she admires Harry's pursuit of multiple hacking claims.

By Dominic Ponsford

Journalist and royal expert Tina Brown has said she admires Prince Harry’s combative stance against the media.

Speaking ahead of the Coronation of King Charles, Press Gazette asked Brown – author of The Palace Papers – what she made of Prince Harry’s ongoing lawsuits against the publishers of The Sun, Mirror and Mail titles over allegations of phone-hacking and illegal information gathering dating back around 20 years.

She said: “I actually admire Harry’s jihad on this. Flashman Harry, Harry the hand grenade.

“One of the problems with hacking the rich and the famous is that they’re rich and famous, right? I mean, ultimately Harry said ‘you know what, I don’t have to settle’.”

[Read more: Tina Brown on Sir Harry’s legacy and assembling investigative journalism dream team]

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Prince Harry is suing News Group Newspapers over allegations of illegal information gathering at The Sun and News of the World. In a separate case he is suing Mirror Group Newspapers over similar allegations, while in a third he claims the Mail titles were involved in criminal information gathering which is said to have included the use of audio surveillance devices.

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Brown wrote a chapter in her book about surveillance of the Royal Family, entitled “Snoopers”.

Brown told Press Gazette: “I was shocked as I reported that out actually, because I really hadn’t quite understood the torment that the young adolescent Harry was put through with the hacking.

“As well as being tormented by the media scrutiny, he was in a constant state of like, ‘how do they know? Who’s betraying me? Which of my friends can I trust?’

“It created such a level of insecurity for him about who he could trust, a real paranoia because the papers would seem to know about things before they’d hardly even been scheduled…

“His girlfriends’ travel plans were hacked. Their medical records were hacked. So they ruined so much of his life.

“And on top of that, of course, he looks back on what his mother went through and, you know, of course he sees the press as having killed his mother.

“That is a very complicated issue that, you know, he will not really confront in that Diana also did have issues where she actually did sort of promote herself a lot with the press.

“What is true is that Diana, too, was absolutely haunted with the paranoia about who was leaking on her all the time.

“She dispensed with her police protection, which could have saved her life in Paris, mostly because she felt that they were leaking on her. Well, they weren’t.

“When you think about that, you do understand why Harry thinks ‘you know what, I have the funds now, I don’t care, I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m not one of the royal family really anymore.

“I don’t have to care about the ongoing collusion between the press and the Royal Family so I’m just gonna go for it.'”

Tina Brown was speaking to the Press Gazette Future of Media Explained podcast about the legacy of her late husband Sir Harold Evans and the investigative journalism conference bearing his name which is taking place in London on 10 May.

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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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Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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