PRINCE Harry has said his £140,600 damages award after bringing a phone hacking claim against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) was a "great day for truth as well as accountability".

A judge ruled in favour on almost half of the sample of 33 stories used in his claims of phone hacking and other methods.

The court found evidence of “widespread and habitual” use of phone hacking at the Mirror newspapers.

The National: The Duke of Sussex looks on as the King leaves Westminster Abbey after the coronation ceremony (Ben Stansall/PA)

In a summary of his 386-page ruling on Friday, Justice Fancourt concluded that the duke’s (above) phone was probably hacked “to a modest extent” by the publisher.

He also found that there was “extensive” phone hacking generally by MGN from 2006 to 2011, “even to some extent” during the Leveson Inquiry into media standards.

Fancourt ruled that unlawful information-gathering was “widespread” at all three Mirror Group titles - the Daily and Sunday Mirror and Sunday People - from 1996 onwards, and phone hacking became “habitual” from 1998.

The unlawful activity was “concealed” from Parliament, shareholders and the public, as well as the board overseeing MGN, the judge said.

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In a statement read out on his behalf outside the High Court, Harry's lawyer David Sherborne called the ruling “vindicating and affirming”.

“This case is not just about hacking – it is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behaviour, followed by cover ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings,” he said.

“I’ve been told that slaying dragons will get you burned. In light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press – it’s a worthwhile price to pay,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for MGN said: “We welcome today’s judgement that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.

“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation.”

The ruling comes following Harry’s appearance at the High Court in June, where he became the first senior royal of modern times to give such extensive court evidence in person.

Over the course of two days, he was grilled about his claims that the group’s newspapers had published many stories about him, over several years, based on phone hacking and other unlawful ways of obtaining information.

The CEO of Hacked Off, which campaigns for an accountable press, Nathan Sparkes said: “This judgement is credit to the courage of the individuals who have brought these claims, in particular Prince Harry and the other lead claimants, and the bravery of the whistleblowers who testified.

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“They faced a campaign of intimidation and abuse in the press for doing so, but today they have been vindicated and achieved the justice which the Mirror Group and the Government sought to deny them.

“This case serves as yet another reminder of the urgent need for effective and independent self-regulation of the press to protect the interests of ordinary people who are victims of wrongdoing by powerful and unaccountable newspaper groups.”