Everything we know as Prince Harry to appear in ITV phone hacking scandal documentary ‘Tabloids on Trial’

Prince Harry and Hugh Grant will feature in a bombshell ITV documentary exploring the phone hacking scandal, the broadcaster has announced.

Tabloids on Trial will cover the two decades through which the scandal has spanned, with allegations first breaking in 2003.

Alongside the Duke of Sussex and Mr Grant, the programme will see appearances from Charlotte Church, Paul Gascoigne and other ‘people catapulted into the public eye’.

ITV has said the show will also include Harry’s first major interview since the end of his high-profile court case against the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) in December.

In a major success for the Duke, the presiding judge ruled that phone hacking became “widespread and habitual” at MGN titles in the late 1990s and that his phone was hacked “to a modest extent”, awarding £140,600 in damages.

“This documentary hears about his mission to continue his fight to expose the illegal tactics of Britain’s tabloid press and explores what those in charge at Fleet Street really knew as this scandal unfolded,” says ITV.

The programme airs on July 25, coming as the Duke looks ahead to two further legal battles this, against both the publishers of The Daily Mail and The Sun.

Prince Harry is interviewed for ITV’s Tabloids on Trial (ITV)
Prince Harry is interviewed for ITV’s Tabloids on Trial (ITV)

What is the phone hacking scandal?

The UK’s phone hacking scandal concerns the illegal gathering of information by tabloid newspapers from around 1995 to 2012.

The issue first gained public attention in 2011, when the high-selling News of the World paper was forced to close amid hacking allegations. It came after reports emerged that journalists for the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid hacked into the phone of murdered school girl Milly Dowler, intercepting voicemails to use in their coverage.

Actor Hugh Grant was also interviewed for the ITV documentary (ITV/PA)
Actor Hugh Grant was also interviewed for the ITV documentary (ITV/PA)

News UK, Mr Murdoch’s media empire which also publishes The Sun, has since settled over 1,600 phone-hacking claims. Reports indicate this has cost the company around £1 billion.

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

The Duke of Sussex has been particularly active, entering a number of legal battles with varying success since 2019. Giving evidence at his trial against The Mirror publisher, he revealed how “media intrusion” had affected 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 told 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.”

Prince Harry was subsequently successful in his claim against the publisher, but has two other civil cases ongoing. He is one of several claimants in cases against both publishers of The Daily Mail and The Sun, alleging unlawful information gathering. Legal proceedings for both are expected to take place later this year.