The Duke of Sussex has unexpectedly appeared at the High Court as legal proceedings begin in a privacy case.
Prince Harry and other individuals are suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publishers of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
The duke, singer Sir Elton John and actresses Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley are among the individuals who allege unlawful information gathering.
The publisher has described the allegations as “preposterous smears”.
A four-day preliminary High Court hearing, starting on Monday, will consider legal arguments and a judge will decide whether the case will go any further.
When the legal action was announced in October, law firm Hamlins, which is representing Prince Harry and Frost, alleged that ANL’s activity included:
“The hiring of private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside people’s cars and homes
“The commissioning of individuals to surreptitiously listen into and record people’s live, private telephone calls whilst they were taking place
“The payment of police officials, with corrupt links to private investigators, for inside, sensitive information
“The impersonation of individuals to obtain medical information from private hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres by deception
“The accessing of bank accounts, credit histories and financial transactions through illicit means and manipulation”
In a statement released at the time, the newspaper group said: “We utterly and unambiguously refute these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old.
“These unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims – based on no credible evidence – appear to be simply a fishing expedition by claimants and their lawyers, some of whom have already pursued cases elsewhere.”