London — Prince Harry is expected to testify in a U.K. court this week as the trial continues in his(MGN). It is the first of three cases Harry is involved in against U.K. tabloids, which the prince alleges spied on him for scoops. His court appearance and cross examination will be the first in modern times for a senior member of Britain’s royal family.
The suit, involving test cases from Harry and three other well-known British claimants, alleges that journalists working for MGN gathered information about the prince unlawfully, including by hacking into voicemails. It involves 207 newspaper articles published between 1991 and 2011.
Harry had been instructed to attend Monday’s court proceedings, The Associated Press reported, but was not there. The AP quoted the prince’s lawyer as saying Harry had flown out Sunday from Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and their children, after celebrating his daughter’s birthday, and that he was scheduled to testify on Tuesday.
The judge, Justice Timothy Fancourt, told the court that he was “a little surprised” by Harry’s absence on the first day of his case. The lawyer representing MGN said he was “deeply troubled” by the prince’s non-appearance.
Harry’s legal team had initially pointed to 144 newspaper articles that they said used unlawfully gathered information about him, but only 33 of those articles will be considered in the case resuming this week.
The claimants argue that senior executives, including Piers Morgan — who edited the Daily Mirror newspaper from 1995 to 2004 — knew of the illegal activities. Morgan has denied any knowledge of illegal activities.
MGN has previously admitted that phone hacking took place at its tabloids and has settled hundreds of claims, CBS News partner network BBC News reports. Its lawyer denies, however, that 28 of the articles referenced in this case involving Harry used unlawfully-gathered information. MGN’s lawyer said the group had “not admitted” that the other five articles involved unlawful information gathering, according to the BBC.
In separate cases, Harry is also suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun tabloid, for alleged hacking, and he is one of several people suing The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday for alleged unlawful intrusion.