Prince Harry returned to the U.K. to provide evidence for his case against Associated Newspapers. The Duke of Sussex provided a 49-page witness statement to the High Court, and the lengthy document condemned the British press and highlighted the negative impact the industry has had on the author's mental health.
"You start off as a blank canvas while they work out what kind of person you are and what kind of problems and temptations you might have. They then start to edge you towards playing the role or roles that suit them best and which sell as many newspapers as possible, especially if you are the 'spare' to the 'heir,'" the veteran explained. "You’re then either the 'playboy prince,' the 'failure,' the 'dropout' or, in my case, the 'thicko,' the 'cheat,' the 'underage drinker,' the 'irresponsible drug taker,' the list goes on."
The royal rebel later divulged how the constant attention influenced his behavior and went on to slam the publisher for its impact on his personal life.
"As a teenager and in my early twenties, I ended up feeling as though I was playing up to a lot of the headlines and stereotypes that they wanted to pin on me mainly because I thought that, if they are printing this rubbish about me and people were believing it, I may as well 'do the crime,' so to speak," Harry said.
"It was a downward spiral, whereby the tabloids would constantly try and coax me, a 'damaged' young man, into doing something stupid that would make a good story and sell lots of newspapers. Looking back on it now, such behavior on their part is utterly vile," he confessed. "I always felt as if the tabloids wanted me to be single, as I was much more interesting to them and sold more newspapers."
Although Harry told an emotional and extensive anecdote, the media conglomerate's attorney accused a palace insider of providing them with stories to publish about Harry and other members of the royal family.
"Private information about you was sometimes provided to the press with the consent of the press … without your consent … or even knowledge," the publisher's lawyer, Andrew Green countered. "Private information about you that you present as being gathered unlawfully was actually provided by Mr. Bolland."
Green referenced Mark Bolland, the former Deputy Private Secretary for King Charles.
Court documents were published by The Guardian.