Watch: Prince Harry bumps into photographer outside court
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 in London, starting on Monday, will consider legal arguments and a judge will decide whether the case will go any further. ANL is bidding to end the claims.
Others taking part in the legal action include Sir Elton's husband David Furnish, and Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993.
The group launched the legal action last year after becoming aware of "compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy" by ANL, according to a statement by law firm Hamlins released in October 2022.
Image source, ReutersImage caption,
Actress Sadie Frost also appeared on Monday, and sat two seats away from Harry in the courtroom
When the legal action was announced in October, law firm Hamlins, which is representing Prince Harry and Frost, alleged that ANL's activity included:
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."
The duke's appearance on Monday is believed to be the first time he has been back in the UK since the late Queen's funeral in September.
His surprise return comes nearly three months after he publicised his troubled relationship with his father the King and brother the Prince of Wales in his controversial autobiography Spare.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also released a Netflix documentary in December, titled Harry & Meghan.