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  • Prince Harry referenced King Charles, Queen Camilla’s 1993 “Tampongate” scandal in a witness statement ahead of the coronation. 
  • According to a commentator, Prince Harry may have wanted to “humiliate” his father by doing so. 
  • Instead, Prince Harry could’ve referenced evidence “already part of the case,” the commentator said. 
Prince Harry, who referenced 'Tampongate' in a witness statement, walks with King Charles III
Prince Harry and King Charles III | John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Remember the “Tampongate” phone call between King Charles III and Queen Camilla? Well, Prince Harry brought it up before his father’s crowning on May 6. Immortalized via tape recording and depicted on The Crown, the Duke of Sussex referenced “Tampongate” in court documents made public in the lead-up to the coronation. According to a commentator, it may have been an effort to “humiliate” King Charles. 

Prince Harry alluded to King Charles’ ‘Tampongate’ recording in a 31-page witness statement 

A 31-page witness statement from Harry was released as part of an April 2023 preliminary hearing in a phone-hacking lawsuit against News Group Newspapers, or NGN, the publisher of the British tabloid The Sun and the shuttered News of The World.

Going public shortly before the coronation, the 31-page statement saw Harry claim his brother, Prince William, received a large sum of money as part of a secret payout. 

He also alleged the palace made a “secret agreement” with certain British tabloids, resulting in his being deterred from taking legal action.

As for why the palace would’ve made a “secret agreement,” Harry proposed it had been a preventative measure to avoid unfavorable stories being shared. His example: “Tampongate.” 

However, Harry didn’t mention “Tampongate” by name. Instead, he said: “Details of an intimate telephone conversation that took place between my father and stepmother in 1989, while he was still married to my mother [Princess Diana].”

A recording of the phone conversation went public in 1993 following King Charles and Diana’s separation in late 1992. 

Harry’s ‘Tampongate’ reference dubbed ‘completely unnecessary’

Prince Harry, who mentioned King Charles 'Tampongate' in a witness statement, attends a court hearing
Prince Harry | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

In The Royal Report podcast’s May 3 episode, host Jack Royston called the “Tampongate” reference a possible humiliation attempt.

“Obviously, it’s quite striking that Harry has chosen to throw one of the most humiliating episodes in Charles’ life right into the middle of this case. When, to be honest, it was completely unnecessary to do so,” he said. 

“The point that Harry’s trying to make here is really simple and straightforward,” he continued, adding that he “cannot see anybody contesting.”

“It was perfectly possible to make it with reference to evidence that is already part of the case,” Royston said. “It’s very straightforward that the palace would not want embarrassing information to come out in court. But the embarrassing information would be nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Tampongate.'”

“It would have been to do with the voicemail messages that had been hacked by journalists and private investigators. And we know what those were,” he added. 

Harry brought ‘Tampongate’ recording ‘back to the surface’ with ‘old example’ of phone hacking 

“You know, this is the kind of stuff that’s already there in the court documents, which shows that there would have been embarrassing revelations if a royal family member had been called to give evidence,” Royston continued.

“So, the fact that he chose to throw ‘Tampongate’ in there when it’s such an old example is either just a desire to humiliate Charles by dragging it all back to the surface again,” he said.

Another possible option the commentator considered is that Harry’s “Tampongate” reference was a “dig” at tabloids’ illegal wiretapping. 

“Perhaps it’s a kind of dig along the lines that because that was a telephone call. Maybe Harry is trying to imply that it was a result of wiretapping by a tabloid newspaper. And that maybe Charles should have taken action over it,” Royston said. “But Harry doesn’t say that.”

The lawsuit continues as NGN argues the Duke of Sussex is too late in filing his claims. Meanwhile, Harry has ongoing lawsuits against other British tabloids. One of which is expected to go to trial in June 2023 with an appearance by Harry as a witness.