King Charles III is reportedly “sad and bewildered” by the legal crusade his son Prince Harry has launched against a British newspaper group and his continued attacks on the UK’s institutions.
The estranged Duke of Sussex is embroiled in a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers, accusing the media powerhouse of using illegal phone hacking techniques to publish dozens of stories about him between 1996 and 2011 that caused him “distress.”
His 55-page witness statement released in court last week included his opinion that the state of the press and government in England was “at rock bottom,” which violates the constitutional requirement for the royal family to be “above politics,” according to The Sunday Times.
Harry, 38, quit his royal duties three years ago and moved his family to California, citing the pressure of their public roles and alleged biases against his biracial divorcée American wife Meghan Markle.
He outlined his grievances in a memoir entitled “Spare” earlier this year, in which he wrote that he had begged his father not to marry Queen Consort Camilla, who he believed would be a “wicked stepmother.”
The prince — who is fifth in line to the throne — did not meet with Charles or his brother Prince William during his recent brief trip to the UK to testify in the case and had reportedly not been invited to his father’s 75th birthday parade later this week.
Now a source close to the palace told the Sunday Times that Harry’s rhetoric and behavior has rattled his father.
“The King brings Harry up every time I see him. I don’t think we’ve moved past sad and bewildered, but there’s a bit more frustration at his behavior because it just keeps going,” the source reportedly said.
According to the report, Harry did not consider suing the newspaper group until he ran into lawyer David Sherborne in 2018, who convinced him he had a case.
The palace insider reportedly said Harry had never broached concerns about phone hacking with courtiers when the articles in question were published and has not provided definitive evidence that journalists used the practice.
“I think he’s been sitting in the Californian sunshine for a long time, hanging out with James Corden [the actor and TV host] and has lost all the instincts on how to do this, how to conduct himself carefully, still as a member of the royal family,” a source close to the prince reportedly said.
“He’s lost the knack of what he can and can’t say and there is no one around him to say, ‘No, Harry, you can’t say that, take that bit out’. It’s embarrassing for him and for Britain, for a prince to be saying, ‘We’ve got a s**t government.’”
“I think he is seeking inner peace and this becomes the target … he thinks if he can bring the media to heel, it will cure his pain. Sadly, I don’t think it will. He’s still defending his mother,” the courtier told the paper.
“Nothing will take that pain away.”