Prince Harry Will Be the First British Royal to Testify Since Edward VII

Prince Harry’s anticipated testimony on Tuesday in a phone-hacking case might be the first time in over 130 years {that a} distinguished member of Britain’s royal household is cross-examined in courtroom.

The final time it occurred was in 1891, and it didn’t go properly for the royal household.

Prince Albert Edward — Queen Victoria’s eldest son, who went on to grow to be King Edward VII in 1901 — testified as a witness in a slander case that centered on a sport of baccarat gone unsuitable at which the prince had been current.

One of the gamers, Sir William Gordon-Cumming, had been accused of dishonest. The prince sided with the accusers, and Mr. Gordon-Cumming misplaced the case.

An area report from the time, as quoted in The Guardian, mentioned that Edward’s testimony lasted about 20 minutes and that it “wearied him exceedingly, and made him extremely nervous.” The report additionally said that he couldn’t sit nonetheless. It was uncommon then, too, for such a distinguished member of the royal household — the future king, no much less — to seem in courtroom.

“When a question more pressing, more to the point than usual, was put to him, the prince’s face was observed to flush considerably, and then pale again,” the report learn.

Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal commentator, mentioned: “You can see from reading this why it was subsequently decided that this is not something the royal family want. It showed you couldn’t entirely shield even the son of the queen from cross-examination.”

A guide that was printed in 1899 revealed a letter by Edward by which he denounced the scandal and expressed the “deep pain and annoyance” he suffered due to it.

“A recent trial, which no one deplores more than I do, and which I was powerless to prevent, gave occasion for the press to make most bitter and unjust attacks upon me, knowing I was defenseless,” Edward wrote.

He continued, “The whole matter has now died out, and I think, therefore, that it would be inopportune for me in any public manner to allude again to the painful subject which has brought such a torrent of abuse upon me.”

Edward’s testimony in 1891 was not the first time that the future king appeared in courtroom. Two a long time earlier, he testified in the divorce case of Harriet Mordaunt, the spouse of an English member of Parliament, who had named Edward as certainly one of her lovers. (Edward denied it in courtroom.) During that trial, Edward appeared to have been in the witness field for only some minutes, Mr. Fitzwilliams mentioned, and that look appeared to have had much less of an affect on his popularity.

Edward — referred to as “Bertie” to the folks shut to him — had loved a popularity of being a womanizer with a love for playing cards.

There are key variations between Harry’s deliberate courtroom look on Tuesday and Edward’s appearances. Edward was referred to as as a witness each occasions he appeared in courtroom, whereas Harry is certainly one of the plaintiffs, which means he in all probability knew that cross-examination was in his future.

Furthermore, whereas Harry is a high-profile member of the royal household, he’s not a working royal. And he has by no means been first in line to the throne, not like Edward, who was the crown prince. Still, if the questions journey Harry up, it could possibly be embarrassing, specialists mentioned.

“There won’t be the safety net that he’s had with various interviews,” Mr. Fitzwilliams, the royal commentator, mentioned.

Not all press was unfriendly to Edward in 1891. In an article about the last day of testimony in the baccarat slander case, The New York Times wrote that he was “affable as ever” and “faultlessly dressed.”

Edward was king for less than 9 years. In 1910, he died of pneumonia, leaving the throne to his son George V.

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