Prince Harry Wins Lawsuit Against Tabloid Newspapers, Awarded Monetary Winnings

The Duke of Sussex, who made history over the summer as the first British royal in 130 years to appear in a witness box, was among more than 100 other claimants who sued Mirror Group Newspapers.

Prince Harry won a partial victory in his court case against Mirror Group Newspaper. On Friday, the UK High Court ruled that the Duke of Sussex was the subject of "extensive" phone hacking by MGN – the publisher of Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, The Sunday People, and more – from 2006 to 2011, awarding the royal over £140,000 ($180,000).

During the Friday hearing, the presiding judge, Justice Fancourt, ruled that evidence was found of "widespread and habitual" use of phone hacking at MGN. Fancourt stated, per PEOPLE, that 15 of 33 articles at the center of Harry's claim published by MGN "were the product of phone hacking of his mobile phone or the mobile phones of his associates, or the product of other unlawful information-gathering." The judge's ruling also said that the newspaper group's board "as a whole" did not know about the use of phone hacking, though he believed former chief executive officer Sly Bailey and former group legal director Paul Vickers were aware, according to the BBC.

"Today is a great day for truth, as well as accountability. The court has ruled that unlawful and criminal activities were carried out at all three Mirror group newspaper titles – the Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – on a habitual and widespread basis for over more than a decade," Harry's lawyer, David Sherborne, read a statement on the royal's behalf. "This case is not just about hacking – it is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behaviour, followed by cover-ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings."

Harry was unable to present his statement in person, as he was not in court "due to the short notice which was given of this hearing," PEOPLE reported. It is believed he watched via a video feed.

Harry, who now lives in the United States with his wife Meghan Markle and their two children, joined 100 other claimants, including the estate of the late George Michael, in suing MGN. He filed a lawsuit against MGN in 2019, alleging that his phone voicemails were hacked using unlawful information gathering. In June, he made history when he became the first British royal in 130 years to appear in a witness box at the trial. Over the course of the seven-week trial at the high court, he told the court that dozens of news stories were published in the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and People between 1995 and 2011 after being obtained illegally. He said the articles played a "destructive role" in his adolescence.

Following the ruling, a spokesperson for MGN said: "We welcome today's judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago. Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation."