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Prince Harry appears in UK High Court for privacy lawsuit against ANL : NPR

The Duke of Sussex arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice in central London ahead of a hearing on Monday.

Jordan Pettitt/PA Images via Getty Images

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Prince Harry appears in UK High Court for privacy lawsuit against ANL : NPR

The Duke of Sussex arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice in central London ahead of a hearing on Monday.

Jordan Pettitt/PA Images via Getty Images

Britain’s Prince Harry made a surprise visit to a London High Court hearing on Monday, appearing as a plaintiff in a privacy lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited.

The Duke of Sussex is one of half a dozen high-profile figures who allege the newspaper publisher – which owns the Daily Mail, Mail online And Mail on Sunday — used illegal information-gathering tactics.

Singer Elton John and his partner, filmmaker David Furnish, are plaintiffs in the case, as are actresses Sadie Frost and Elizabeth Hurley. A sixth plaintiff, Doreen Lawrence, is an MP whose son was killed in a racist attack.

None of the plaintiffs are expected to speak at the four-day hearing, according to a press release from Hamlins, one of the law firms involved.

It came as a big surprise to local media to see the Duke sitting next to fellow countryman Frost in a back row of the courtroom, carefully taking notes in a black notebook.

It appears to be his first trip back to the UK since Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September 2022.

Plaintiffs claim ANL secretly accessed medical records, bank accounts and private conversations

Prince Harry and the others say they have “compelling and very distressing evidence” that they were victims of “heinous criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy”, according to a press release announcing the trial.

They claim ANL:

  • Hiring investigators to place listening devices in homes and vehicles
  • Police officers paid to have access to sensitive information
  • People spoofed for medical information from private clinics and treatment centers
  • Bank accounts, credit history and financial records accessed illegally

In a statement provided to NPR, the ANL said it “categorically” denied the allegations and planned to defend itself if the trial continues after this week’s hearing.

The ANL is trying to have the case quashed before a trial

ANL is seeking to have the case quashed on two counts: 1) that some of the events in question occurred before 2007, rendering it beyond the statute of limitations and, 2) that the plaintiffs themselves unlawfully obtained evidence against ANL, using elements of a government report subject to a strict confidentiality rule.

The publisher is also preparing to release the names of specific journalists mentioned in the claims should the case move forward.

ANL lost a similar privacy case brought by Meghan Markle in 2021. The Duchess sued after the Daily mail published parts of a private letter she wrote to her estranged father in 2018.

And Prince Harry is currently suing the LNA separately for defamation over a 2022 article about its security arrangements.

Prince Harry’s safety is the question of another trial

The subject of this article sparked another lawsuit filed by the couple.

Britain’s Home Office, which oversees the country’s police force, decided in 2020 that Prince Harry’s family would not automatically enjoy the “same degree” of royal security in the UK, but would receive protection case by case. The Home Office also said it would not allow Prince Harry to pay for his own police protection.

Harry’s recent trip amid this ongoing litigation raises questions about his safety in the country.

Prince Harry does not plan to visit his brother Prince William or soon-to-be-crowned father King Charles on the trip, according to local media.

The Duke revealed his controversial relationship with the pair in his memoir, Sparewhich was released in January 2023.

Since stepping down from royal duties in 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan have moved to Montecito, California, with their two children and slowly revealed more and more of their experiences with the monarchy.

The couple cited media harassment and abuse as one of the main reasons they chose to leave the royal family after two years of marriage.

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