Britain’s Prince Harry arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday for the first hearing in a high-profile privacy case against a major British newspaper group.

Harry’s surprise appearance, walking briskly, smiling and buttoning his coat, marked the start of the case launched last year against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail, for alleged wiretapping and other privacy violations.

In addition to Harry, the case involves seven high-profile figures, including singer Elton John, actors Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, Elton John’s husband and filmmaker David Furnish, and Doreen Lawrence, the mother of black teenager Stephen Lawrence who he was killed in a racist attack. attack in 1993.

The individuals had become aware of «highly distressing» evidence revealing that they had been the victims of privacy breaches by Associated Newspapers, the Hamlins law firm said in a statement in October, according to Reuters.

He said the violations included placing listening devices inside people’s cars and homes, commissioning live private phone calls to be tapped, paying police officers for sensitive information and impersonating people to obtain medical records.

Associated Newspapers, which also publishes The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, said it had «absolutely and unambiguously» denied the allegations.

The legal restrictions requested by the journalistic group mean that the specific details of its accusations have not been made public so far.

The royal’s appearance in London comes amid feverish tabloid interest in him and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. While King Charles’ youngest son Harry and his wife have always been the subject of relentless coverage, this intensified after their engagement and marriage.

According to Harry and Meghan, the scrutiny and lack of protection and defense against him by other royals and courtiers led them to withdraw from royal life. The two lost their publicly funded UK police protection when they stepped down as royals and moved to North America in 2020.

The British royal family faced fresh scrutiny in January when Harry released a revealing memoir, Spare, revealing he took illegal drugs at age 17, begged his father not to remarry and killed 25 fighters. Taliban while serving in the UK. army.

Monday’s hearing comes after Harry asked a judge earlier this month to rule that the Mail on Sunday slandered British royals with an article about his seeking police protection when he and his family visit the UK. , according to The Associated Press.

The article in question alleged that Harry tried to silence his separate legal challenge over the British government’s refusal to allow him to pay for police security.

Harry hadn’t been in court for the previous meeting.

Harry’s lawyers have said the prince is reluctant to bring the couple’s children Prince Archie, almost 4, and Princess Lilibet, almost 2, to the UK saying they fear for the safety of the family.