Why is Prince Harry in the UK? What you need to know about his privacy suit against a UK tabloid.

Prince Harry has returned to London for a hearing against the publisher of a UK tabloid over alleged phone-tapping and privacy breaches.

The Duke of Sussex has brought a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, which publishes titles including the Daily Mail, alongside other famous figures including singer Elton John, his husband and filmmaker David Furnish and actors Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost.

The case alleges Associated Newspapers commissioned the "breaking and entry into private property," engaging in unlawful acts that included hiring private investigators to bug homes and cars and record private phone conversations.

Associated Newspapers has said it "utterly and unambiguously" denies the allegations. 

The publisher said the claims are too old to be brought now and should be thrown out because they rely on information the newspapers turned over in confidentiality for a 2012 probe into media law breaking.

"It would be surprising indeed for any reasonably informed member of the public, let alone a figure in the public eye, to have been unaware of these matters," lawyer Adrian Beltrami said in writing.

The hearing is expected to last four days.

The United Kingdom held a year-long inquiry into press ethics after revelations in 2011 that News of the World tabloid employees eavesdropped on the mobile phone voicemails of celebrities, politicians and a teenage murder victim.

Owner Rupert Murdoch shut down the newspaper amid a criminal investigation and public uproar.

Several journalists were convicted and Murdoch's company paid millions in damages to dozens of hacking victims.


In the inquiry's 2012 report, Lord Justice Brian Leveson said "outrageous" behaviour by some in the press had "wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained".

Judge Matthew Nicklin, who is hearing the current eavesdropping case, is also overseeing a separate libel lawsuit Harry brought against Associated Newspapers over an article about his quest for police protection when he and his family visit the UK.

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Prince Harry's other lawsuits against the press. 

Harry is already suing the Mail on Sunday for libel over an article about his security arrangements, and last year won damages from the same paper after another defamation claim.

His wife, Meghan, also won a privacy case against the publisher in 2021 for printing a letter she had written to her estranged father.

Harry is also expected to appear in court in May to give evidence in a libel trial against the Daily Mirror newspaper over accusations of phone-hacking.

Media intrusion was one of the reasons the Duke and Duchess of Sussex cited for stepping back from royal duties and moving to California to forge new lives and careers.

They recently called out the press in their recent six-part Netflix documentary series and in Harry's memoir Spare.

- With AAP. 

Feature Image: Michael M.Santiago/Getty.

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