Private investigator apologises for hacking Prince Harry's ex Chelsy Davy's phone

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Prince Harry, who has been an outspoken advocate on misinformation in the press, is the subject of a new BBC doccie, The Princes and the Press. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, who has been an outspoken advocate on misinformation in the press, is the subject of a new BBC doccie, The Princes and the Press. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

A private investigator has admitted he was part of a “ruthless media culture” in the early 2000s that “robbed” Prince Harry of a normal life.

Speaking in the controversial new BBC documentary The Princes and the Press, Gavin Burrows says he was “part of a group of people” who relentlessly hounded the Duke of Sussex for newspaper stories.

Former private investigator Gavin Burrows claims he hacked into Chelsy Davy's phone while looking for stories on Prince Harry back in the early 2000s. (PHOTO: BBC)

In trying to uncover stories about Harry, Burrows targeted the royal's former girlfriend Chelsy Davy, who Harry dated on-off from 2005 to 2011.

“There was a lot of voicemail hacking going on, there was a lot of surveillance work on her phones, on her comms. Chelsy would brag to her friends when she was going to see him,” he said.

He confesses to digging into Chelsy's medical records to find out whether she had had any sexually transmitted diseases or abortions.

(PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Image
Harry's former girlfriend Chelsy Davy (pictured here together in 2006 at a polo match), was the target of phone hacking by a private investigator intent on getting stories on the royal. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

He says he’s now “very sorry” and was driven at the time by “greed and drugs”. “I was into cocaine and living in a fake state of grandeur.”

He describes the newspaper culture at the time as “ruthless” with editors even dubbing the red-haired royal the “new Diana” following the death of his paparazzi-hounded mother, Princess Diana, in 1997.

Burrows says that, when he started working for the now-defunct tabloid News of the World in 2000, there was much more interest in Harry than in his brother. Editors told him putting Harry on the front page sold more copies than William. 

‘As explained to me by a couple of editors, Harry had basically become the new Diana’
– Gavin Burrows

The documentary, Part 1 of which aired on the BBC earlier this week, explores the prickly relationship between William and Harry and the British press.

William, along with the queen and his father, Prince Charles, have condemned the doccie for its “overblown and unfounded claims” and have blasted the national broadcasting commission for refusing to show it to the royal family first despite requests.

READ MORE | Royal family’s fury over new documentary on Prince William and Prince Harry

They have threatened to boycott the BBC over future projects, something which it seems is already unfolding as William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, have reportedly barred the BBC from showing their Christmas carol concert.

Instead the charity fundraiser, hosted by the duchess at Westminster Abbey, will be shown on Britain’s ITV.


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