On Tuesday (June 6), Prince Harry took the witness stand on Tuesday (June 6) and testified against Mirror Group Newspaper Limited (MGN) in London’s High Court during his phone-hacking trial – where he accuses the publishing company of using unlawful measures to obtain information about him in the past.
In his written witness statement, which was obtained and published by The New York Times on June 6, Prince Harry addresses rumors that King Charles III isn’t his biological father. Those rumors originated from a 2002 article by The People – a newspaper owned by Mirror Group Newspaper Limited (MGN).
“Numerous newspapers had reported a rumor that my biological father was James Hewitt, a man my mother had a relationship with after I was born,” he wrote in the statement. “At the time of this article and others similar to it, I wasn’t actually aware that my mother hadn’t met Major Hewitt until after I was born.”
Prince Harry, who was born on September 15, 1984, was the younger son of Princess Diana and then-Prince (now-King) Charles III. The former couple got married in 1981 and had two children – Harry and his older brother, Prince William (b. June 21, 1982) before finalizing their divorce in August 1996.
Their divorce came after several years of infidelity on both sides – Princess Diana had an affair with Major James Hewitt, while King Charles III had an affair with his future wife (and now-Queen Consort) Camilla Parker-Bowles. Princess Diana died in August 1997, one year after the divorce was finalized.
Five years later, several newspapers – starting with The People – began spreading rumors that King Charles wasn’t his real father. Instead, they insisted his biological father was Hewitt. As Harry pointed out in his 2023 memoir, Spare, the rumor stuck because Harry and Hewitt both have ‘flaming ginger hair.’
“They were hurtful, mean, and cruel,” he said of the rumors in the witness statement – adding that they were ‘very damaging’ to him. “I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so I might be ousted from the Royal Family?”
Prince Harry Confirms the Rumors Aren’t True
In the witness statement, Prince Harry reiterates the false nature of the rumors – citing the fact that his mother’s affair with James Hewitt didn’t start until years after he was born. Nonetheless, he believes the rumor was too good for anyone to stop – even he wasn’t sold on the truth until about 10 years ago.
“Never mind that my mother didn’t meet Major Hewitt until long after I was born, the story was simply too good to drop,” he said in the written statement. It’s not the first time he has opened up about the rumors – also doing so in his most recent memoir – where he questioned the intent behind those who started it all.
“Tabloid readers were delighted by the idea that the younger child of Prince Charles wasn’t the child of Prince Charles. They couldn’t get enough of this ‘joke,’ for some reason. Maybe it made them feel better about their lives that a young prince’s life was laughable,” he wrote in his memoir, released on Jan. 10.
As for his phone-hacking trial, he’s joining a long list of other high-profile names in a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspaper Limited – all of whom claim they obtained information about them in unlawful ways. MGN has apologized for one particular instance, but that instance isn’t a part of the current lawsuit.
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