Tabloid Troubles

Invasion of privacy continues

Although there is no question that the lives of the royal family have been the subjects of tabloid gossip over the years, the law prohibits an opportunity for legal action well after the incident. Specifically in this recent case, Prince Harry has attempted to file a lawsuit against a news outlet for events that took place from January 1996 to December 2010. Involving personal conversations and exchanges between friends, an ex-girlfriend, and palace aides, Prince Harry accuses News of the World and The Sun of engaging in hacking activities. The problem is that the former tabloid ceased publication in July 2011 and the latter publication denies all accusations or participation.

Based on a formality of statute of limitations, legal counsel for News Group Newspapers, the parent company of The Sun and the now defunct News of the World, is denouncing the claims. The argument is that Prince Harry was privy to the hacking and invasion of privacy as early as 2006. In essence, Prince Harry is too late to file suit against the tabloids. In terms of the hacking allegations, Prince Harry references an intimate conversation with his long-term ex-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. News of the World correspondent, Clive Goodman, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator, allegedly illegally obtained these messages. In particular, one message included a revealing photo of Chelsy Davy, sent to Prince Harry on Valentine’s Day in 2005.

While it is difficult to deny the probability that Goodman and Mulcaire did hack voicemail messages between Prince Harry and his various close friends and palace aides, the publications of the articles that contained the details of the voicemails were published over six years ago. In addition to the acts of Goodman and Mulcaire, Prince Harry accuses correspondents at The Sun of also hacking his phone. The publication has denied these allegations and maintains its innocence. Despite the presumably weak case against the tabloids, it is easy to sympathize with Prince Harry and his continual struggle with the effects of the media on his personal life. Following the death of his mother, the attention he has received from the tabloids and the persistent attempts to intrude into his life have proven daunting.