Prince Harry is serving the royal tea on those paternity claims.
The Duke of Sussex took the stand in London's High Court on June 6 to share testimony in his phone-hacking case against Mirror Group Newspaper Limited, the publishers behind the Daily Mirror, The People and the Sunday Mirror. (In the lawsuit, Harry—as well as other public figures—claimed that MGN unlawfully obtained information about them over the years, an accusation which the group has denied.)
And in addition to speaking out inside the courtroom, Harry's written witness statement was also released, in which he—among many other topics—addressed speculation that he's the biological son of Princess Diana and her former partner Major James Hewitt, not King Charles III.
In the witness statement, obtained by The New York Times, Harry referenced a December 2002 article published by The People titled, "Plot to rob the DNA of Harry." As Harry noted, the article reported "a plot to steal a sample of my DNA to test my parentage."
"Numerous newspapers had reported a rumor that my biological father was James Hewitt, a man my mother had a relationship with after I was born," he wrote. "At the time of this article and others similar to it, I wasn't actually aware that my mother hadn't met Major Hewitt until after I was born."
Harry added that he only learned about this timeline of events around 2014, years after speculation about his biological father emerged.
When the article came out in 2002, Harry was only 18 years old and had just lost his mother six years prior.
As he pointed out in his statement, these stories "felt very damaging and real to me" at this time. "They were hurtful, mean and cruel," he wrote. "I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so I might be ousted from the Royal Family?"
Buckingham Palace is not commenting on the ongoing trial.
Harry previously addressed the speculation about his biological father in his memoir Spare, released in January.
"One cause of this rumor was Major Hewitt's flaming ginger hair, but another cause was sadism," Harry wrote. "Tabloid readers were delighted by the idea that the younger child of Prince Charles wasn't the child of Prince Charles. They couldn't get enough of this 'joke,' for some reason. Maybe it made them feel better about their lives that a young prince's life was laughable."
And, as he noted in his witness statement, the timeline didn't even add up. "Never mind that my mother didn't meet Major Hewitt until long after I was born," he wrote, "the story was simply too good to drop."
Harry's June 6 comments about the press come just one month after he received an apology from Mirror Group Newspapers for a single instance of unlawfully gathering information.
"MGN unreservedly apologises for all such instances of UIG," the May 10 statement read, "and assures the claimants that such conduct will never be repeated."
At the time, the publisher noted that this violation, which is not part of Harry's lawsuit against MGN, "warrants compensation."