(London) Prince Harry made a surprise appearance Monday morning at the High Court in London, where a hearing is being held against the publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspaper (ANL), accused by several celebrities of having collected information illegally.
Footage from Sky News showed the 38-year-old prince getting out of a taxi and entering the building.
During a hearing scheduled to last four days, the publisher of the Daily Mail tries to defeat the lawsuits brought by the youngest son of Charles III, the singer Elton John, or the actress Liz Hurley.
The surprise appearance in London of Prince Harry, who only exceptionally visits the United Kingdom, comes just over a month before the king’s coronation on May 6.
Exiled to the United States after crashing out of the monarchy in 2020, Harry and his wife Meghan have been invited to the ceremony, but have not yet publicly announced whether they will honor the invitation.
The return of the “ Sussex ” to the UK to attend the coronation has been the subject of much speculation in the British media in recent months, after the couple’s virulent attacks on the royal family.
After a documentary aired on Netflix in December, Harry released his controversial memoir “The Substitute” in early January, in which he recounts his drug and alcohol-ridden teenage years and details the breakdown of his relationship with his father, the King. Charles III, and his brother William.
The king was originally due to be absent from the UK on Monday and Tuesday for a state visit to France, which was postponed due to the social climate and sometimes violent protests linked to President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform. He is going to Germany on Wednesday.
At war with the tabloids, Prince Harry holds the tabloid press responsible for the death of his mother Diana in 1997 in a car accident in Paris, pursued by the paparazzi.
In the legal proceedings initiated in London, the six plaintiffs accuse ANL of having employed detectives to wiretap them, in their car or at their home.
They also claim that payments were made to police “ with corrupt ties to private investigators ” to obtain information, that medical data was “ obtained by deception ” and that bank accounts and financial information were accessible “ by illicit means and manipulation ”.
When announcing this procedure at the beginning of October last, the group had refuted “ totally and without ambiguity these grotesque defamations which seem to be nothing more than a planned and orchestrated attempt to involve the titles of the Mail in the wiretapping scandal telephone calls regarding 30-year-old articles”.
The British press had been shaken ten years ago by several scandals of illegal wiretapping practiced from the beginning of the 2000s.
It was at the beginning of the affair in 2005 of tapping in the messengers of collaborators of princes William and Harry, but the emotion had peaked in the summer of 2011 when the tabloid News of the World had listened to the voicemail of a missing and eventually found dead schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.
The revelations had led to the disaster closure of the Sunday tabloid of media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who had paid two million pounds to the family of Milly Dowler in an amicable agreement.
While many personalities have sued tabloids after being wiretapped, this is the first time that such lawsuits have targeted the publisher of the Daily Mail.