Legal action brought by Prince Harry over phone hacking allegations against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) will go to trial in May, a judge at London’s High Court ruled today (Wednesday, March 8).

The Duke of Sussex will be one of several public figures whose lawsuits against MGN will be considered at the trial.

This includes the singer and former Girls Aloud member Cheryl Tweedy, the estate of the late singer George Michael, ex-footballer and television presenter Ian Wright and actor Ricky Tomlinson.

The trial is expected to last for six to seven weeks, and four or five “representative” claimants were selected as “test cases” at a hearing in London on Wednesday.

News Shopper: Prince Harry's case concerns 148 articles from MGNPrince Harry's case concerns 148 articles from MGN (Image: PA)

Mr Justice Fancourt ruled that the duke’s claim should be one of those tried, saying it was an “obvious selection” because his claim covers an extensive period of time and 24 private investigators.

Will Harry give evidence in the trial?

David Sherborne, a lawyer representing Harry and the other claimants, told the court that Harry would be “the only witness” relied upon in his case.

This does raise the prospect of the duke entering the witness box to give evidence.

The court also heard the duke’s case which is that 148 articles published between 1996 and 2010 included information allegedly obtained through unlawful means, including phone hacking.

However, the judge said the number of articles to be considered at trial should be reduced to about 33.

News Shopper: Prince Harry may give evidence in the casePrince Harry may give evidence in the case (Image: PA)

He said Harry’s case is also one which “will not settle”, on the basis of what he has read and heard in court, adding: “So it will have to be tried at some stage and might as well be tried now.”

What did MGN have to say on the matter?

MGN is contesting the claims, arguing that some have been brought too late.

The publisher of titles including The Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The Sunday People, MGN has previously settled a number of claims against it in relation to unlawful information gathering, as has News Group Newspapers (NGN) – the publisher of the now-defunct News Of The World and The Sun – in a separate ongoing legal action.

An earlier trial of representative claims, including those brought by former Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and actress Sadie Frost, was heard in 2015 and is the only trial which has taken place during the long-running litigation.

A raft of other cases has been settled since by both MGN and NGN. The phone-hacking scandal led to the closure of the News Of The World in 2011.