Prince Harry will be at the centre of a planned High Court trial against the publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper over allegations of phone hacking, a judge has ruled.
The royal is one of several public figures whose lawsuits against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) will be considered at the trial, which will begin on 9 May.
On Wednesday, Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled that the Duke of Sussex’s case, which alleges that unlawful information was gathered on behalf of MGN journalists between 1996 and 2010, should be part of the trial.
David Sherborne, a lawyer representing Harry and the other claimants, earlier said to the court that the duke would be “the only witness” relied upon in his case, suggesting he could possibly give evidence in the witness box.
He said Harry “will not settle” his case based on what he has claimed in his witness statement, which is not yet publicly available, as well as “everything he has said outside these proceedings”.
Other celebrities involved in the case include former Girls Aloud bandmate Cheryl, actor Ricky Tomlinson, ex-footballer and TV presenter Ian Wright and the estate of the late singer George Michael.
The trial is scheduled to last for six to seven weeks.
Four or five “representative” claimants were selected as “test cases” at a hearing in London on Wednesday.
The court heard that Harry’s case relates to 148 articles published between 1996 and 2010 including information that was allegedly obtained through unlawful means, such as phone hacking.
Mr Justice Fancourt said the number of articles to be considered at trial should be reduced to around 33.
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The prince launched his case against MGN in 2019 and is one of several he is bringing against British newspapers, such as one against News Group Newspapers, the publishers of The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World.
Other claimants selected for the trial are former Coronation Street star Nikki Sanderson, comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman and actor Michael Turner.
MGN has contested the claims and argues that some have been brought too late.
He is also pursuing two separate legal actions against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of The Mail, The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline.
It was also announced on Wednesday that a hearing in one of his claims, over The Mail On Sunday’s coverage of the duke’s judicial review against the Home Office about his security arrangements for his family when they are visiting the UK, is set to take place at the High Court on 17 March.
Meanwhile, a preliminary hearing in a separate legal action by the prince against alleged unlawful information gathering at ANL titles, which is being brought alongside the likes of Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Sir Elton John, has been scheduled for 27 March.
Harry has been outspoken in his criticism of the British press, most recently during a number of televised interviews to promote his autobiography Spare.