Prince Harry surprisingly returned to London on Monday to participate in the High Court’s first four-day hearing and support a legal claim by him and other personalities against the Daily Mail and its publisher “for wiretapping and misuse of private information.” It is the first time he has returned to London since Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
The duke is among seven high-profile figures who are suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. Harry already won a libel case against the Daily Mail last year.
The other plaintiffs are actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, singer Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and former Lib Dem MP Sir Simon Hughes.
In a joint statement issued in October, the group said they had become aware of “compelling and very distressing evidence that they had been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and serious violations of privacy.”
Wearing a black overcoat, Harry surprised reporters. Photo: AP
Without Meghan, in a black overcoat and before the photographers and journalists who did not expect his presence, Harry got out of a van with his American bodyguards. It is not known where he is staying: whether he continues to live at his home at Frogmore Cottage, where his father demanded eviction after publishing his Spare book, or at Buckingham Palace, for security reasons.
The self-exiled prince in California after having broken with the Royal Family only informed his father, the king, that he was traveling. He won’t see it. They informed her that he was “very busy” at Buckingham Palace. The sovereign was neither in Windsor nor in London on Monday as he prepares for his official trip to Germany.
Carlos III should have been in France this Monday on his first state visit, which was canceled on Friday, due to the demonstrations and the state of revolt in Paris and the main French cities, at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.
Wednesday begins in Berlin, in Germany, what will be his first state visit as sovereign, together with the queen consort.
Harry’s presence at the court hearing against the tabloid The Daily Mail, with which the Royal Family maintains good ties to publicize its activities, will be a strong distraction for the first visit of Charles III and Queen Camilla to Berlin.
The Royals try not to overshadow the activities of one and the other, coordinating them to always have their place in the tabloids and, if possible, in the traditional newspapers.
Harry arrives at the Royal Court of Justice. Photo: AP
Although relations with William, his brother, are disastrous, he will not run the risk of meeting. The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children are not in London because the boys have school holidays, palace sources said.
Arriving at court with a small team of staff in the morning, the duke smiled at the press. He ran into a photographer, as he was entering the building shortly before 10:30 London time, who apologized to him.
In the living room
He sat in the courtroom with his lawyers, dressed in a navy suit and tie. As the hearing progressed, he leaned forward across the desk with his hands clasped, listening intently.
Elton John, another of the plaintiffs, comes to court. Photo: AP
The court proceedings began with an offer from ANL’s lawyers for certain reporting restrictions to be placed on the case. The Daily Mail has so far not published their presence in court.
The Duke occasionally took notes in a small black notebook while ANL lawyer Catrin Evans KC presented legal arguments.
Actress Sadie Frost, who also filed a lawsuit against the publisher, sat two seats away from Prince Harry.
Actress Sadie Frost. Photo: Reuters
The duke is among seven high-profile figures who are suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).
The editor of the Mail strongly denied the allegations. He has described them as “absurd smears” and a “pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone hacking scandal.”
The preliminary hearing scheduled for this week will allow Judge Nicklin to determine if the case can continue.
The judge will hear legal arguments relating to an application by Associated alleging, among other things, that the plaintiffs’ use of information violates a restraining order issued by Lord Justice Leveson.
All the plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Sherborne, who had access to the information, as a representative of the main participants in the investigation eleven years ago.
All plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Sherborne. Photo: Reuters
Associated is expected to argue that no request was made to use that information and that therefore any claims based on it should be removed.
ANL has also submitted a request, which has found no opposition, to keep the named journalists anonymous, until the judge decides whether or not to proceed with the complaints.
Full details of the claim have yet to be released and will remain under seal until the issue is resolved. The claimants allege that listening devices were placed in their homes and cars.
However, the claimants allege that Associated, publisher of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, hired private investigators to install listening devices in their homes and cars, that people were paid to listen to and record live phone calls and that “bank accounts and other financial information were accessed through illicit means and manipulation.”
They are also expected to allege that police officers, with ties to private investigators, were paid to obtain private information and posed as others to obtain medical information from private hospitals, clinics and treatment centers through deception.
It is also alleged that bank accounts, credit histories and financial transactions have been accessed through illicit means.