The idea that former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan only began to slag off the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they decided to take the Daily Mail to the cleaners over breach of copyright is fanciful: the failed CNN host (and three-day-a-week co-host of ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain) has been dissing Harry and Meghan for some time now, in his inimitable, boorish, intolerant and sneering manner.
Why would he do this? After all, it’s not as if Harry is the new manager of Arsenal FC, the usual target of Morgan’s frustrated ire. We discovered why yesterday, when Byline Investigates revealed - exclusively - that HRH was suing the publishers of the Sun, the Screws, and the Mirror titles over alleged phone hacking. The period when the alleged voicemail interception took place was when Morgan was in the editor’s chair.
Byline has confirmed that “In addition to Murdoch’s The Sun and defunct News of the World, the Duke is also suing the publishers of The Mirror titles over unlawful news gathering activities that stretch back to the editorship of controversial former Editor-turned-celebrity Piers Morgan”, and adds “Hitherto, The Sun’s owners have always denied any wrongdoing on behalf of the paper in relation to unlawful news gathering”.
But, the question immediately enters, how has phone hacking never been proven at the Sun, when the paper’s owners have ponied up so much money to claimants? Simples. The payments stop the cases going to court. So evidence never gets examined, and no admission of wrongdoing needs to be made. That could be about to change.
As Prof Brian Cathcart of Kingston University put it, “The Murdoch and Mirror papers have a record of settling phone hacking cases at the door of the court. It costs them a lot of money, but it also prevents a public trial at which executives and reporters past and present would be required to account for themselves and at which all the facts would come into the open … That logic may not apply to Prince Harry”.
Also, a legal source told Byline “Piers Morgan has been critical of Harry and Meghan's recourse to law this week against the Mail on Sunday … However, most of the Mirror hacking and blagging of Harry and his loved ones, allegedly happened under his watch … Morgan might be concerned about this claim as there are also allegations of hacking by his newspaper of Princess Diana before she died, as well as her friends and family after her death, while Morgan's papers were mourning her loss”.
And there will be precious little sympathy for Morgan, especially given his gobby and dismissive attitude to Harry and his wife. He claims “They've had the praise & criticism their behaviour has warranted. They talk of bullying but this is their attempt to bully the press into fawning sycophancy” as if the Royals have to accept improper behaviour.
That “warranted” criticism included slagging off Meghan for not meeting his pal Combover Crybaby Donald Trump (“By snubbing President Trump's state visit, Meghan also snubbed the Queen, America, Britain, and the D-Day veterans” - get out the nanoviolin!), slagging her off for her choice of names for her son, slagging her off for guest editing British Vogue, and sneeringly referring to her as “Meghan Kardashian”. Warranted my arse.
As to that mourning of Diana, Princess of Wales, while Morgan told anyone who would listen “Never met a more beguiling, mischievous, passionate & complex woman. Loved her”, he also conceded “Diana loved, hated, used, & was abused by, the tabloids”. He also lets slip the form that use and abuse might have taken.
When asked about the use of single sources for stories, he responded “Depends who the source is, surely? I once ran a big royal story re Princess Diana where she was my source. Did I need a 2nd?” Well, you wouldn’t if you’d had her phone hacked, eh Piers?
Which adds a little spice to the last line of the Byline report: “It is not clear whether Piers Morgan will be called upon to give evidence should the Duke’s legal action against MGN proceed to trial”. Why Morgan has cause to worry, summed up in one sentence.
And his problem is, he’s too gobby and judgmental to keep quiet. Get the popcorn in.
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