Prince Harry appeared at a London High Court hearing, appearing as a claimant in a privacy lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited, as Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, and three others were also plaintiffs in the case.
Prince Harry and other celebrities appear in court in privacy lawsuit
A privacy lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited brought out a half-dozen high-profile figures who allege the publisher that owns the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Mail on Sunday used unlawful information-gathering tactics.
The appearance of Prince Harry, 38, was a surprise as he arrived at the High Court in London, People reported.
Prince Harry, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, and tie, sat two rows behind the lawyers leading the case, intently watching the proceedings and sometimes taking notes.
Nearby sat Jude Law’s ex-wife, actress Sadie Frost.
Another surprise was when singer Sir Elton John arrived later in the day.
In addition to the Duke of Sussex, five other plaintiffs in the case included singer Elton John, his partner filmmaker David Furnish, actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, and a sixth plaintiff, Doreen Lawrence, a member of Parliament whose son was killed in a racist attack, NPR reported.
Despite their presence, none of the six plaintiffs were expected to speak during the four-day hearing, according to a press release from Hamlins, one of the law firms involved.
What is the lawsuit all about?
The lawsuit alleges that Associated Newspapers, the parent publisher of the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Mail on Sunday, engaged in unlawful practices that violated the privacy rights of the plaintiffs.
In the lawsuit, the claimants alleged that the publisher used private investigators to place listening devices in their cars and homes and engaged in the recording of private telephone calls.
Further, the lawsuit alleges that the publishers paid off police “with corrupt links to private investigators” for access to sensitive information. They claim investigators used impersonation to obtain medical information from hospitals and care facilities, as well as illicit manipulation into accessing bank accounts, credit histories, and other financial transactions.
In response, Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) “categorically” denied the allegations, calling them “preposterous smears,” the BBC reported.
ANL lost a similar privacy case brought by Meghan Markle in 2021 after she sued the Daily Mail for publishing parts of a private letter she wrote to her estranged father in 2018.
Publisher will attempt to strike the case down
ANL says they will be attempting to strike down the case on two points:
(1) that some of the events in question occurred before 2007, which makes them outside the statute of limitations.
(2) that the claimants themselves unlawfully obtained evidence against ANL using material from a government report that was under a strict confidentiality ruling.