Prince Harry will make Britain’s first royal court appearance in more than a century when he appears on Tuesday in his trial against a publisher whose titles he accuses of phone hacking and other illegal activities.
Harry, fifth in line to the throne, failed to appear at the High Court in London on Monday where he and more than 100 others are suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), publishers of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, over allegations of misconduct between 1991 and 2011.
However, the youngest son of King Charles will face an hour-long cross-examination by Andrew Green, MGN’s lawyer, on Tuesday and Wednesday on 33 newspaper reports which he says were based on illegally obtained information.
He will be the first senior royal official to testify in 130 years.
The trial against MGN began last month, with lawyers for Harry and the other plaintiffs seeking to prove that the unlawful newsgathering was carried out with the knowledge and approval of editors and executives.
Harry is one of four trials, and his specific allegations are the focus of the first three days of this week.
However, Harry did not show up on Monday because he had only left the United States, where he now lives with his American wife Meghan, the day before because his daughter Lilibet had celebrated her birthday on Sunday. The judge, Timothy Fancourt, said he was surprised by his absence.
SUBJECT OF THOUSANDS OF STORIES
The Prince’s solicitor, David Sherborne, said Harry had been the subject of thousands of MGN stories since childhood and as such was a regular target of illegal behaviour, as was his late mother, the Princess Diana, who was also a victim of hacking. .
Harry wanted to draw attention to the illegal activities and not because of a “vendetta” against the press, Sherborne said.
MGN, now owned by Reach, apologized at the start of the trial after admitting the Sunday People had unlawfully requested information about Harry on one occasion, and previously admitted his titles were involved in the phone hacking, implicating more of 600 claims settled.
But Green, MGN’s lawyer, said there was no evidence that Harry had ever been the victim of phone hacking, let alone usually as he claimed, and denied having been the victim of any other unlawful actions. .
Buckingham Palace is likely to feature prominently in Harry’s cross-examination, with MGN arguing that some of the personal information involved comes from senior royal aides, including one of his father’s former senior officials.
Ironically, in his memoir, his Netflix documentary series and other TV interviews, the prince has repeatedly accused his family and their associates of colluding with tabloids to boost their reputations at his expense.
The palace has not commented on these allegations.
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