UK paper group bids to throw out Prince Harry and others' privacy lawsuits


  • Prince Harry and Elton John attended the preliminary hearing in the case against Daily Mail's publisher
  • Harry, John and five more sued Associated Newspapers for alleged phone-tapping and privacy breaches
  • Netizens have mixed opinions about Prince Harry's appearance at the hearing

Prince Harry is in the U.K. for a hearing in a privacy lawsuit against the publisher of the British tabloid Daily Mail.

The Duke of Sussex and Elton John made surprise appearances at the High Court in London Monday for the preliminary hearing in the case.

The pair and five other high-profile figures, including John's filmmaker husband David Furnish and actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, are suing Associated Newspapers (ANL) over alleged phone-tapping and privacy breaches, Reuters reported.

The plaintiffs also alleged that the publisher paid police officials for private information, according to Fox News Digital.

Prince Harry, John and the other plaintiffs claimed they were the victims of "numerous unlawful acts" carried out by journalists and private investigators working on behalf of the ANL's Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

The claims against ANL include hacking mobile phone messages, bugging calls, getting private information like medical records by deception or "blagging," and "commissioning the breaking and entry into private property," according to their lawyer David Sherborne. The alleged activity reportedly ran from 1993 to 2011, and even up to 2018.

ANL said in a statement to Reuters that it categorically denied the allegations and would vigorously defend them if necessary. Its lawyer has requested that the entire case be thrown out.

None of the claimants, including former lawmaker Simon Hughes and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Black British teenager Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a 1993 racist attack, are expected to speak during the preliminary hearing. They were not required to attend.

Prince Harry, who flew to London from California, sat just feet away from reporters. He was reportedly taking notes. According to his spokesperson, he wanted to be there to show his support.

Meghan Markle's husband was later seen giving Lawrence a hug after the hearing. They chatted with Furnish. Prince Harry was also seen giving the crowd a thumbs up as he left the court.

Prince Harry's presence at the preliminary hearing received mixed responses on social media.

"Harry knew if he attended in person, there would be international media interest, so the story can't be buried as ANL would like. Love to see him looking so unbothered!" one commented.

"Prince Harry coming in person brings global media spotlight to this case that ANL has been trying to keep off the radar," another added.

"Prince Harry is in London to take a newspaper to court for invading his and his family's privacy. This is the same guy who went on Oprah and aired out his family's dirty laundry, wrote a memoir discussing his penis getting frostbite and wants to do a livestream with a trauma specialist for all to see," one critic claimed.

The preliminary hearing is expected to last four days, and a judge will decide if the case will move forward.

Britain's Prince Harry attends a rugby event at Buckingham Palace gardens in London