Prince Harry Ordered to Explain Missing Messages with Memoir Ghostwriter in Privacy Case

Harry ordered to explain missing messages in privacy case against British tabloid publisher

Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on March 30, 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY)
Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on March 30, 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY)

Prince Harry has been directed by a judge to provide an explanation regarding the disappearance of potential evidence in his legal battle against News Group Newspapers (NGN), the publisher of The Sun.

The case revolves around allegations that the Duke of Sussex, 39, destroyed documents and communications, including drafts of his memoir “Spare” and messages with his ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer, which could be relevant to the lawsuit.

During a court hearing on June 27, attorney Anthony Hudson, representing NGN, accused Prince Harry of deleting drafts and messages that were crucial to the case.

Justice Fancourt, presiding over the matter, expressed concern over what he described as “troubling evidence” showing that a significant number of potentially important documents and confidential messages between the Duke and Moehringer were destroyed between 2021 and 2023, after the claim was already underway.

Justice Fancourt remarked on the “rather remarkable” absence of these documents and asked for a witness statement from Prince Harry, who was not present in court, to clarify what happened to the messages between him and his ghostwriter. The judge also inquired whether any efforts were made to retrieve the missing communications.

In response, Prince Harry’s attorney, David Sherborne, dismissed NGN’s allegations as a “transparent, old-fashioned fishing expedition.”

Prince Harry arrives to give evidence at the Mirror Group Phone hacking trial at High Court on June 7, 2023 in London. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, NEIL MOCKFORD/GC IMAGES)
Prince Harry arrives to give evidence at the Mirror Group Phone hacking trial at High Court on June 7, 2023 in London. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, NEIL MOCKFORD/GC IMAGES)

According to court papers obtained by PEOPLE, Sherborne contended that NGN’s approach to disclosure was tactical and slow, undermining their claims that Prince Harry had not properly conducted the disclosure exercise.

Sherborne emphasized that Prince Harry had gone “above and beyond his obligations” in his search for relevant documents. This included a physical search of his California home, attempts to access old email addresses, and inquiries to the Royal Household regarding relevant documents.

Prince Harry is one of many individuals suing NGN over claims of privacy invasions by journalists and investigators between 1994 and 2016.

Some of these cases are expected to go to trial in January 2025. The Duke of Sussex has been actively involved in multiple lawsuits against U.K. newspaper publishers, accusing them of phone hacking and other unlawful practices.

In a separate legal matter earlier this year, Prince Harry lost his challenge to secure police protection while in the U.K. The High Court upheld the U.K. government’s decision not to grant him automatic protection, which led to a downgrade in his security status.

Prince Harry had previously stated that he “felt forced” to step back from his royal duties and leave the U.K. in 2020, citing security concerns for his family—his wife, Meghan Markle, and their two children, Prince Archie, 5, and Princess Lilibet, 3.

David Sherbourne reads a written statement on behalf of client Prince Harry following the ruling in his favour in a lawsuit against the Mirror Group on December 15, 2023 in London. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, LEON NEAL/GETTY IMAGES)
David Sherbourne reads a written statement on behalf of client Prince Harry following the ruling in his favour in a lawsuit against the Mirror Group on December 15, 2023 in London. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, LEON NEAL/GETTY IMAGES)

Justice Fancourt’s recent order for Prince Harry to explain the missing documents underscores the ongoing complexities and high stakes in the Duke’s legal battles.

The requirement to provide a witness statement detailing the fate of the messages with his ghostwriter adds another layer to the already contentious legal proceedings.

The accusations against Prince Harry are part of a broader pattern of litigation involving prominent figures and media organizations in the U.K. These cases often center on the balance between privacy rights and press freedom, with high-profile individuals seeking to hold media outlets accountable for alleged invasive practices.

As the case progresses, the court’s focus will likely remain on the thoroughness and transparency of Prince Harry’s document searches and the implications of any missing evidence.

The outcome could have significant ramifications for both Prince Harry and NGN, potentially influencing future legal standards for disclosure and evidence preservation in privacy lawsuits.

The legal battles involving Prince Harry highlight the ongoing tensions between the royal family and the British press, with each case shedding light on the intricate dynamics of privacy, security, and media scrutiny.

As the Duke of Sussex continues to navigate these challenges, his actions and the court’s decisions will be closely watched by both supporters and critics.

The next steps in the case will involve Prince Harry providing the requested witness statement and potentially further court hearings to address the issues raised by the judge and NGN.

The resolution of this matter will be pivotal in determining the future direction of Prince Harry’s legal strategy and his ongoing efforts to protect his privacy.

Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment