Prince Harry: Peter Hunt recalls royal wanting to do an interview
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A new documentary has delved into Harry and his brother Prince William’s relationship with the press over the years. The scrutiny of their private lives really came to the fore as they reached adulthood. After they finished school, speculation abounded about what they might do in their roles as members of the Royal Family, as well as work outside of the Firm and their personal lives.
William went off to study at the Scottish St Andrews University in 2001, while Harry remained at home.
He would go on to have several relationships, the most notable with Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas.
Meanwhile, William struck up a romance with someone he met at university, Kate Middleton.
They would date for almost a decade before marrying in 2011.
Some years after their marriage, scandal hit.
A trial set up in the wake of the News of the World — a now defunct newspaper — phone-hacking scandal in 2014 suggested that members of the Royal Family including Harry, William and Kate may have been targets.
The scandal was explored during the BBC’s new two-part series, ‘The Princes and the Press’.
Here, Peter Hunt, the BBC’s former royal correspondent from 2003 to 2017, revealed that Harry, at the time of the trial, was desperate to do an interview with him for the broadcaster.
He said: “I remember a conversation with Harry where I said, ‘Oh, you should do an interview, you should talk about it, because it clearly really exercises you.’
“And then the ‘person with the hand’ arrived and he left.
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“But then I spoke subsequently to the ‘person with the hand’ and they said that he got in the car and he kept saying, ‘Why can’t I do this interview with Peter?
“‘I want to talk about hacking.'”
Clive Goodman, former royal editor at the News of the World, had previously pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House and was imprisoned for four months in January 2007.
His co-conspirator Glenn Mulcaire was sentenced to six months.
Mr Goodman was also sacked from News of the World but received a £240,000 settlement from News International.
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According to News International, the payments were made because his dismissal was unfair as they had failed to “follow statutory procedures”.
News of the World folded in 2011.
In 2014, Mr Goodman was involved in a criminal trial that explored the allegations in further detail, the court hearing about alleged hacking of the communications of Harry, William and Kate.
On June 30, 2014, the trial judge, Mr Justice Saunders, announced that Mr Goodman and the News of the World’s former editor, Andy Coulson, would face a retrial on the outstanding charges.
The following year, on April 18, 2015, Mr Goodman was found formally not guilty of all charges at the Central Criminal Court.
Mr Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but only went on to serve five before being released in November 2014.
Unlike Harry, who has continued in his legal battle against the phone-hacking scandal, William and the rest of the family appear to have given up their case.
Mr Hunt suggested it was because the Firm feared the repercussions of the press turning against them.
When asked by the programme’s presenter, Amol Rajan, what the rationale behind ‘the person with the hand’s’ decision not to allow Harry to do the interview, Mr Hunt said: “I think the rationale is the same rationale as to why William has thrown in the towel on it: that they they have accepted that it may not be in their best interest to unnecessarily antagonise significant sections of the British press.”
‘The Princes and the Press’ is streaming on iPlayer.
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