Photography: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Prince Harry has said Piers Morgan “knew, encouraged and covered up” the illegal targeting of Diana, Princess of Wales when he was editor of the News of the World.
Harry claims his mother’s text messages and private phone calls were obtained from reporters working for Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids before he died, with the information used as the basis for multiple stories in the Sun and the News of the World.
Harry claimed in court documents that this illegal targeting of Diana – as well as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles – was known and covered up by Morgan and other publishers in the mid-1990s.
Morgan, who now hosts an evening show on Murdoch’s TalkTV channel, has consistently denied any direct knowledge of phone hacking during his time as tabloid newspaper editor. The TV presenter had repeated fights with Harry. In 2021, Morgan left ITV’s Good Morning Britain after making comments about the prince’s wife Meghan.
Harry lists a number of articles that were published during Morgan’s time as editor of News of the World between January 1994 and August 1995. The prince claims all were the result of illegal intelligence gathering.
“Di’s cranky phone calls to married Oliver; She called 3 times in 9 minutes and hung up when she heard Oliver’s voice,” about Diana’s alleged affair with art dealer Oliver Hoare.
“Di’s roam alone,” about Diana flying to the United States on vacation and leaving Princes William and Harry behind with other members of the royal family.
“Di and Fergie Bury the Hatchet,” about a private meeting between Diana and the Duchess of York.
“It’s Diana or me; About: Will is my close friend, not my lover; Carling snuck into the building when the boys left,” about Diana’s alleged affair with England rugby player Will Carling.
“Di’s VJ Day fury over Tiggy,” about an alleged fight between Diana and royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.
Many of these stories were written by Clive Goodman, the paper’s royal correspondent, who would later be sent to prison for hacking into Prince William’s voicemails.
One of the stories allegedly based on illegally collected information was written by News of the World journalist Gary Jones, who is now the editor of the Daily Express.
Harry made the allegations in proposed amendments to his phone hacking claim against Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN) company, which was heard in the high court.
He also claims that journalists working for NGN received messages from Diana’s secret personal pager, a device used to receive text messages before the widespread use of cell phones.
Harry claims that a 21-page log of text messages sent to this device in late 1994 by Oliver Hoare was later found in a safe in the office of Tom Crone, a top lawyer in Murdoch’s company.
The messages were said to include Hoare asking Diana if her children were staying with their grandparents and wondering if William and Harry would be excited to meet the members of Take That.
Harry also claims that journalists working for Murdoch’s newspapers intercepted personal phone calls and messages sent by his father, now King Charles, and his stepmother, Camilla.
Morgan has also been linked to other hacking allegations relating to his time as editor of the Mirror between 1995 and 2004. Last year, lawyers suing the Mirror’s parent company said Morgan “had to be aware of the tapping of voicemails” during the time he was running the tabloid. Harry has a separate lawsuit against the publisher of the Mirror, which is due to go to trial next month in the high court.
TV presenter Jeremy Paxman, speaking under oath at Leveson’s inquest, said Morgan once invited him to lunch and explained how to hack voice messages from a mobile phone. Morgan previously told the Guardian: “I’ve never hacked a phone or told anyone to hack a phone.”
The amendments to Harry’s legal claim also state that former News of the World editors Phil Hall and Bob Bird, and former Sun editors Stuart Higgins and David Yelland, must also have known about Diana’s illegal targeting during the mid-2000s. 90’s.
Harry has clarified that he blames the tabloids for his mother’s death while being chased by paparazzi through Paris. On Tuesday, the high court heard his claim that press intrusion by the Sun and other newspapers led her to choose to travel without a police escort to avoid leaks, ultimately leading to her death. in 1997.
Related: Prince Harry does not blame the Queen for Murdoch’s alleged press deal, court hears
Harry suggests that Murdoch’s papers covered up their illegal activity, publicly criticizing Diana’s “paranoid delusions” about being illegally targeted when in fact “she was under close surveillance and her calls were being illegally tapped” by individuals working for the Sun and News of the World.
Harry also suggests Diana was punished by newspapers for giving an interview to BBC Panorama in 1995, rather than providing private information to the Sun or the News of the World.
Harry previously told the court he had personally been the victim of widespread phone hacking and illegal activity by the Sun and News of the World, claiming there was a secret deal between the royal family to keep such deals out of the public eye. court.
Murdoch’s company has always denied any illegal behavior at the Sun and is trying to block Harry’s legal claim on the grounds that he waited too long to file his legal documents.