Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, leaves the High Court in London, Britain March 27, 2023.
Prince Harry will face cross-examination when he testifies against Mirror Group Newspapers over alleged phone hacking on Tuesday, June 6. Reuters

Prince Harry was a no-show on the first day of his court hearing against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) on Monday, June 5, which deeply disappointed the defendant's lawyer, Andrew Green KC.

The Duke of Sussex was expected at London's High Court to give evidence on his privacy case against MGN, publisher of the Daily Mirror, over alleged phone hacking. But his lawyer said he will appear on Tuesday instead, after having flown to the U.K. from the U.S.A. late in the evening of Sunday, June 4.

His attorney, David Sherborne, told the presiding judge, Honourable Justice Fancourt, that his client arrived late as he had to be at his daughter Princess Lilibet Diana's birthday. She turned two years old on Sunday.

Prince Harry will face cross-examination when he appears in court on Tuesday. But the defendant's barrister expressed dismay at the wasted opportunity to question the royal over his allegations. He said he needed at least one and a half days to cross-examine the duke.

"That can not be done in one day," Green said according to GB News adding that he is "deeply troubled" at the royal's absence as it could only lead to "wasted time."

According to the publication, Mr. Fancourt was also a "little surprised" by Prince Harry's absence on Monday as he was expecting him to give evidence in person. He should have been available as he was reportedly scheduled to be in court from Monday onwards.

Speaking about his absence on the first day of the court hearing, royal author Angela Levin said, "It's so extraordinary and so hopeless, I just couldn't believe he couldn't find anyone to guard him. I spoke to a friend about what the judge meant by 'surprised', she said he's absolutely furious."

She added, "It is very rude and she said it wouldn't help him with the case. You don't just not turn up. He's got a team that could have got something together."

Prince Harry is suing MGN for damages, claiming journalists and its titles, which included the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, resorted to illegal means to retrieve information about him, alleging the use of private investigators for unlawful activities, phone hacking, or gaining intel via deception.

The royal alleged that about 140 articles published between 1996 and 2000 contained information that was gathered using unlawful means. 33 of these have reportedly been selected to be presented at the trial.

Sherbone on Monday said Prince Harry's relationship with his brother, Prince William, suffered "mistrust" because of these articles. He cited a December 2003 report from The People which detailed an alleged row between the siblings over their mother Princess Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell.

"Even at this very early formative stage, the seeds of discord between these two brothers are starting to be sown. Brothers can sometimes disagree but once it is made public in this way and their inside feelings revealed in the way that they are, trust begins to be eroded," the barrister said as quoted by the Independent.

Sherbone added, "One can see how the mistrust can set in from an early age, exactly because of this type of activity."

Prince Harry and Prince William are now estranged and the former confirmed this in his telling memoir "Spare" released on Jan. 10 this year. He also said in promotional interviews ahead of the release of his book that he is no longer on speaking terms with his brother and his father, King Charles III. But the Duke of Sussex braved the scorn of the British public and an awkward reunion with the royals when he attended his father's coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey on May 6. It is unclear if he met with them ahead of the celebration.