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Prince Harry Makes Shock Court Appearance in Blockbuster Daily Mail Lawsuit

Prince Harry made a stunning appearance at London’s High Court on Monday for the first hearing of a lawsuit accusing the publisher of the Daily Mail of phone-tapping and privacy breaches.

The Duke of Sussex brought the action along with other celebrities including Elton John and actress Elizabeth Hurley against Associated Newspapers, but no one was expecting the semi-retired royal to show up at the central London court in person.

The hearing on Monday will consider the initial legal arguments in the case and a judge will then decide if the case can proceed further. The media company denies the allegations.

Harry, one of seven claimants in the case, says he and others have been the victims of “abhorrent criminal activity” and “gross breaches of privacy.” The group announced last October that they were bringing legal action against Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information.

At the time, law firm Hamlins—which is representing the Duke of Sussex and actress Sadie Frost—alleged that the media giant’s activities had included hiring private investigators to “secretly place listening devices inside people’s cars and homes,” snooping on private phone calls, paying police officials for sensitive information, and “impersonation of individuals to obtain medical information.”

Full details of the claims have not yet been made publicly available. But Associated Newspapers has called the allegations “preposterous smears” and will try to have the case thrown out over four days of hearings in the English capital.

Despite his unexpected presence in London, Prince Harry will not meet his father King Charles or his brother Prince William while he is in England this week, with sources in both camps telling The Daily Beast they are too busy to make time to see him.

William and Kate’s children were on the first day of their Easter school holidays Monday and the family was not in Windsor, where Harry is believed to be staying at his home Frogmore Cottage, which he is shortly due to vacate on the orders of the king.

The king was also thought not to be in London or Windsor, with suggestions that he had retreated to his country home, Highgrove, after a state visit to France was cancelled at the last minute due to street rioting over there.

The apparent lack of enthusiasm by the royals to meet with Harry will crush any last remaining hopes he may have held that his family would sit down for face-to-face talks with him before the coronation.

Harry has said that he wanted such talks as condition of attending the coronation, and also said he wants “an apology to my wife” for the bad way they allege she was treated when they were working members of the royal family.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper to promote his memoir Spare he said: “The ball is very much in their court, but you know, Meghan and I have continued to say that we will openly apologize for anything that we did wrong… There needs to be a constructive conversation, one that can happen in private that doesn’t get leaked.”

The Daily Beast has consistently been told by reliable sources, however, that the royals do not believe they have anything to apologize for and will make no such gesture.

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