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Prince Harry: Confusion at trial as royal biographer takes to the stand

Omid Scobie co-wrote Finding Freedom

Prince Harry walking
Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
16 May 2023
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Omid Scobie, the co-author of Finding Freedom, has denied having a "vested interest" in helping Prince Harry, the High Court has heard.

Mr Scobie entered the witness box on Monday as part of an ongoing trial based on claims brought by several high-profile individuals, including Prince Harry, against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

At the beginning of a cross-examination of Mr Scobie, Andrew Green KC, acting for MGN, described Finding Freedom as "favourable to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex".

Mr Scobie denied having a "vested interest" in helping Prince Harry© Hazel Thompson
Mr Scobie denied having a "vested interest" in helping Prince Harry

Mr Scobie instead described the book as "fair".

He was then asked whether his career is "to some extent linked to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex" and if Mr Scobie had a "vested interest" in helping Prince Harry, to which he replied: "No.”

Omid Scobie co-authored 'Finding Freedom' with Carolyn Durand© Chris Jackson
Omid Scobie co-authored 'Finding Freedom' with Carolyn Durand

Mr Scobie co-authored the biography Finding Freedom with fellow journalist Carolyn Durand. It was written in collaboration with sources close to Harry and Meghan.

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However, he rejected the suggestion that he had a close personal relationship with the Duke or that he was a “cheerleader” or “mouthpiece” for the couple. “I don’t have [the Duke’s] phone number, I have never socialised with him,” he added.

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His latter comment has sparked a debate amongst royal fans, however.

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In Finding Freedom, Mr Scobie seems to confirm that he did socialise with the Prince.

He wrote: “Being far from the scrutiny and pressures of home was also an opportunity for heart-to-hearts.

“On that same trip, Harry confessed to me at a small drinks gathering at our hotel that he really wished he were ‘just a normal guy’ who could pack up and spend a year in Brazil pursuing his own passions…”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at a youth group visit© Matt Sayles for The Archewell Foundation
Mr Scobie said he was not a “cheerleader” or “mouthpiece” for Harry and Meghan

Elsewhere in the trial, Mr Scobie also spoke about a week’s work experience at the Daily Mirror and alleged that he overheard Piers Morgan, the paper's editor at the time, being told that information relating to Kylie Minogue and her then boyfriend had come from voicemails.

“Mr Morgan was asking how confident they were in the reporting and was told that the information had come from voicemails,” Mr Scobie said. 

“I recall being surprised to hear this at the time, which is why it stuck in my mind.”

piers morgan smile© Photo: Getty Images
Piers Morgan has denied Mr Scobie's claims

Mr Green asked him why Mr Morgan had been discussing such a sensitive subject in front of an intern, and if it was true, why he had not come forward with the allegations for more than 20 years.

Mr Scobie said he was now at a “different place in his career” and that it was often “invisible interns” who overheard private conversations.

Mr Morgan said last week that he had no knowledge of phone hacking while editor, calling it “lazy journalism”.

The trial is expected to last for seven weeks, with Prince Harry likely to take to the witness stand in June.

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