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Prince Harry to Feature in ITV’s ‘Tabloids on Trial’ Hacking Scandal Doc

Prince Harry and Hugh Grant are set to feature in an explosive ITV documentary exploring the phone hacking scandal, announced by the broadcaster. Tabloids on Trial will examine the two decades over which the scandal has unfolded, with the first allegations surfacing in 2003.

In addition to the Duke of Sussex and Mr. Grant, the documentary will include contributions from Charlotte Church, Paul Gascoigne, and other ‘people catapulted into the public eye.’

ITV confirmed that the show would also feature Harry’s first significant interview since the conclusion of his high-profile court case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) in December.

In a significant win for the Duke, the judge declared that phone hacking had become “widespread and habitual” at MGN titles in the late 1990s and that his phone was hacked “to a modest extent,” awarding him £140,600 in damages.

According to ITV, the documentary will shed light on Harry’s mission to expose the illegal tactics of Britain’s tabloid press and will delve into what Fleet Street executives knew as the scandal erupted.

The programme is scheduled to air on July 25, as the Duke prepares for two additional legal battles against the publishers of The Daily Mail and The Sun.

The UK’s phone hacking scandal involves the illegal collection of information by tabloid newspapers from approximately 1995 to 2012. The scandal first gained significant public attention in 2011 when the high-selling News of the World was forced to close amid hacking allegations. This action followed revelations that journalists for the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid had hacked into the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, intercepting voicemails to use in their coverage.

News UK, Rupert Murdoch’s media corporation, which also publishes The Sun, has since resolved over 1,600 phone-hacking claims. Reports suggest these settlements have cost the company around £1 billion.

Hundreds of civil cases have been filed against News UK and its competitors that publish The Mirror and The Daily Mail. Claimants have included a myriad of high-profile individuals such as Prince Harry, Hugh Grant, Liz Hurley, Elton John, Paul Gascoigne, and Steve Coogan.

Prince Harry has been particularly active in these cases, engaging in several legal battles with varying degrees of success since 2019. During his trial against The Mirror publisher, he testified about how “media intrusion” had impacted his life and influenced his decision to step back from royal duties.

“As a child growing up, in teenage years, I was under press invasion for most of my life, up until this day,” he revealed to the court.

He later added: “Some of the editors and journalists that are responsible for causing a lot of pain, upset and in some cases, speaking personally, death.”

Although Prince Harry won his claim against the publisher, he continues to be involved in two other ongoing civil cases. He is one of several claimants in lawsuits against the publishers of The Daily Mail and The Sun, alleging unlawful information gathering. Legal proceedings for both cases are expected later this year.

Source: ITV, Mirror Group Newspapers