Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex waves as he arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on March 28, 2023 — AFP Photo
Prince Harry's phone hacking trial against the publisher of the Daily Mirror kicked off Monday without him present - and the judge was not happy.
Harry's lawyer said the Duke of Sussex would not be available to testify after opening statements because he caught a flight back from Los Angeles on Sunday after the birthday of his 2-year-old daughter, Lilibet.
"I'm a little surprised," Justice Timothy Fancourt said, noting he had directed Harry to be in court for the first day of his case.
Mirror Group Newspaper's lawyer, Andrew Green, said he was "deeply troubled" by Harry's absence on opening day.
Harry originally was scheduled to testify Tuesday. His lawyer was told last week the duke should attend the trial Monday in case the opening statements concluded before the end of the day.
The case is the first of the Duke of Sussex's several lawsuits against the media to go to trial, and one of three alleging tabloid publishers unlawfully snooped on him.