Prince Harry has waged several legal battles with the British press since stepping down from royal duties in 2020
Prince Harry testified in London's High Court on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 on his privacy case against Mirror Group Newspaper over alleged phone hacking. AFP News

Prince Harry addressed claims that James Hewitt is his biological father during his appearance in London's High Court on Tuesday for his privacy suit against Mirror Group Newspaper (MGN).

The Duke of Sussex is suing the publisher for alleged phone hacking and provided sample articles he claimed contained information that was retrieved illegally. One of these pertains to the rumour that he is not King Charles III's biological son.

He referenced the story from The People with the headline "Plot to rob the DNA of Harry" published on Dec. 15, 2002. The 36-year-old royal said he was 18 years old at the time and had lost his mother, Princess Diana to a tragic car crash in Paris six years earlier when claims that Hewitt is his real father circulated.

He said these stories "felt very damaging and very real" to him and "they were hurtful, mean and cruel." Prince Harry continued as quoted by Page Six, "I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so that I might be ousted from the Royal Family?"

The Duke of Sussex then blamed the article's writer Dean Rousewell for having a long history of using "unlawful information-gathering techniques." For this particular story, he alleged the writer wrote about a "plot" to steal his hair to test his "parentage."

The royal argued that Rousewell wrote the story knowing full well that it was impossible for Hewitt to be his real father because of the timeline of his relationship with Princess Diana.

He explained, "At the time of this article and others similar to it, I wasn't actually aware that my mother hadn't met Major Hewitt until after I was born," Harry wrote. "The timeline is something I only learnt of in around 2014, although I now understand this was common knowledge amongst the Defendants' journalists."

Prince Harry also pointed out one "particular concern" regarding Rousewell's story about a "highly placed royal source" allegedly providing the writer with details of how this alleged paternity test was to be carried out. He does not believe that anyone from "within the palace" would dare assist given the strict security measures carried out to protect the royal family members.

This is not the first time the Duke of Sussex addressed rumours about Hewitt being his biological dad. He wrote about it in his memoir "Spare" while remembering a "sadistic" joke King Charles III told about the gossip.

He wrote, "Pa liked telling stories, and this was one of the best in his repertoire. He'd always end with a burst of philosophising... Who knows if I'm really the Prince of Wales? Who knows if I'm even your real father?"

He added, "He'd laugh and laugh, though it was a remarkably unfunny joke, given the rumor circulating just then that my actual father was one of Mummy's former lovers: Major James Hewitt. One cause of this rumor was Major Hewitt's flaming ginger hair, but another cause was sadism." Hewitt has since addressed the speculation back in 2017, telling an Australian TV show "No, I'm not" when asked if he is Prince Harry's real dad.

The Duke of Sussex is suing MGN for alleged phone hacking, claiming that new voicemails from his phone "would vanish" before he has had a chance to listen to them. He said he would not check his voicemails unless he sees the "little envelope symbol flashed" on his phone which would signal he has a new message.

He claimed, "This symbol would vanish before I had a chance to listen to the voicemail. I don't know how long after they'd been listened to that the symbol vanished, presumably straight away. With the benefit of the knowledge I have now gained of the details of how phone hacking took place, I believe that both mine and my Associates' voicemail messages were hacked." Prince Harry is testifying against MGN along with three other "representative" claims in a trial that started in May and is expected to last six to seven weeks.