Prince Harry’s lawsuit against News Group tabloids likely to go to trial in 2025 – court

LONDON (Reuters) – Prince Harry’s lawsuit against News Corp’s British tabloids is likely to go to trial in early 2025, the High Court in London heard on Tuesday.

Harry, the younger son of King Charles and the late Princess Diana, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) over alleged invasions of privacy by its tabloids, the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, from the mid-1990s until 2016.

It is one of four cases that the 39-year-old prince, who now lives in California with his wife Meghan and their two children, is pursuing at the High Court against British publishers.

He casts the legal actions as a mission to hold tabloid executives to account for lying and covering up widescale wrongdoing.

Harry’s case against NGN was expected to go trial in January next year after a judge ruled in July that his claims of “blagging” confidential details about him and using other unlawful invasions of privacy could proceed.

But court filings at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday showed that Harry’s case is now likely to be heard at a later trial, expected to begin in January 2025.

His lawyer David Sherborne said Harry’s case, and a similar lawsuit by British actor Hugh Grant, were among 27 claims which have been put on hold ahead of the 2025 trial.

NGN is defending Harry’s lawsuit and, when the royal’s claims of decades-old phone hacking were thrown out in July, hailed the ruling as a “significant victory” which it said it drew a line under accusations dogging the publisher since 2005.

In 2012, NGN apologised for widespread hacking by journalists at the News of the World, which News Corp’s former chairman, the Australian-born media magnate Rupert Murdoch, had been forced to shut down amid a backlash.

But the group has always rejected allegations of any wrongdoing by staff at the Sun. NGN has settled more than a thousand phone-hacking cases without making any admission of liability in relation to the Sun.

In June, Harry became the first senior British royal for more than 130 years to give evidence in court when he appeared as part of another lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Angus MacSwan)