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From the gents to the witness box – Harry has little to say


A lavatorial brush with royalty precedes a day in court for our sketch writer
Surreal moment, number one. It’s 10 minutes before proceedings are due to start and a visit to the gents is in order. Outside I find a muscle-bound security guard with an earpiece. He seems friendly enough and doesn’t try to stop me entering. Inside there is only one other man, Prince Harry, washing his hands. We look at each other and both do a double-take. Thinking the same thought: “What the hell are you doing here?” But we’re both thoroughly British. So we just smile at one another and say “hello”. He then dries his hands and leaves. My brush with royalty.
Surreal moment, number two. Prince Harry being in court 15 of the Rolls Building at all. I mean, WTF? The royals normally go out of their way to avoid controversy. The idea of a court appearance would spark a total meltdown. The last time a senior royal was cross-examined was in 1891.
But not Harry. He is on a mission. To bring down the tabloid press. To denounce newspaper editors. In particular, Piers Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror. To expose phone hacking. What’s more, he doesn’t care how much it costs. Or the collateral damage. This is personal. You can feel the pain.
The court rises. Mr Justice Fancourt takes his seat and we are quickly under way. David Sherborne, Harry’s permatanned brief, gets things started. He’s an old hand at this – having previously acted for Princess Diana, Johnny Depp and Coleen Rooney – and comes alive with the attention. He’s never knowingly underspoken. Partly it’s because he loves the sound of his own voice. Velvety, smooth. But mostly it’s because he’s usually paid by the word. But this time he keeps it short. As a special favour to us, he’s allowing the court to call his client Prince Harry. Phew. Glad that’s sorted.
The prince walks over to the witness box and takes the oath under the insignia of the crown. The weird just got weirder.

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