LONDON: Prince Harry will become the first senior British royal to give evidence in court for 130 years when he testifies next week in his lawsuit against a newspaper group he accuses of unlawful behaviour.
Harry, King Charles’ younger son, will appear in the witness box at London’s High Court as part of the case he and more than 100 other celebrities and high-profile figures have brought against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.
It will be the first time a senior royal has given evidence since Edward VII testified as a witness in part of a divorce case in 1870 and 20 years later in a slander trial over a card game, both before he became king.
Harry, who is fifth-in-line to the throne, has barely been out of the headlines in the last six months over his legal rows with the British press and the release of his memoir and Netflix documentary series in which he accused other senior royals of colluding with tabloid newspapers.
His appearance in court is likely to attract worldwide attention.
David Yelland, a senior communications adviser and a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid newspaper – a publication Harry is also suing – said the royal family had long sought to avoid court cases, because they were not in control of the situation. “These cases are often a case of mutually assured destruction. I don’t think anyone will get out looking great,” he said.
More than 100 people are suing MGN, with Harry and three others selected as test cases.
The trial, which began last month, has been told MGN journalists or private investigators commissioned by them carried out phone-hacking on an “industrial scale”, and committed other unlawful acts to obtain information about the prince and the other claimants.