As part of his evidence during a recent court appearance in London, an embattled Prince Harry revealed a secret relationship from his youth. The connection with a teenage lady in the early 2000s was described as “brief but private.”
Interestingly, the Duke of Sussex stated that he ”blamed” information obtained about his partner at the time through ”illegal sources” for their split, claiming that the romance ended after only a ”matter of months” due to intense scrutiny from hackers allegedly employed by Rupert Murdoch‘s Daily Mail newspaper group.
According to Harry, the connection was kept so private that it was ”extraordinary” that they found it at all. The girlfriend in question was Laura Gerard Leigh, a stockbroker’s daughter whose own grandfather was a good friend of the late Duke of Edinburgh.
Private investigator Gavin Barrows allegedly tapped into Laura’s parents’ voicemail notes during their short 2003 relationship. ”It led to Laura’s parents being doorstepped which they were understandably not pleased about,” said Harry.
”This sort of thing caused me to try and keep matters as private as I could to avoid this happening.” The testimony came during a highly publicized preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, in which he and other high-profile personalities, including Elton John, are suing polarizing publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL) for claimed phone hacking and abuse of private information.
Harry’s concerns centered on a Mail on Sunday story that was published at the time. The former monarch stated in a witness statement that it was unlikely that the publication would have obtained such level of detail and confidential information about his relationship with Laura otherwise.
”This article is about a then-new relationship between me and [Ms. Gerad Leigh], including details about her visiting me at Eton, meeting up in private at Windsor, and efforts to keep the relationship secret,” Harry said.
The defendant – Associated Newspapers – has described the claims of phone hacking as ”preposterous smears” and a ”preplanned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into a scandal.”
They also claim that the evidence and testimonies given have been based on ”unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence.”