The legal process that may see Prince Harry become the first senior Royal in living memory to give evidence in a criminal trial ground on today, when the man accused of attacking his friend Tom Van Straubenzee and stealing his phone appeared for the first time in Crown court in London today.
Winful Taylor, from Stockwell, was charged with robbery when he appeared in the dock.
Mr Taylor, 27, is expected to enter a not guilty plea during his next court appearance - on May 4 - and a full jury trial is expected to take place during the summer.
Harry, 27, was on the phone to his friend when the attack happened, and then rushed to the scene accompanied by his royal protection officer to help his friend. He gave a statement to detectives and will almost certainly have to give evidence in the trial as he is the chief witness.
A previous court heard that Mr Straubenzee was set upon by two men in Albert Bridge Road: “One sat on his torso with his knee in his neck and his hand covering the victim’s face and mouth. The other sat on his lower half. The males said they had a knife.”
It is believed that Harry heard all these threats being made to his friend on the other end of the phone.
Mr van Straubenzee, who is also close friends with Prince William, first met Harry at Ludgrove Prep School. Also known as “Van”, he accompanied the Prince on his first official tour to New Zealand.
The royal brothers are patrons of a memorial fund dedicated to Mr van Straubenzee’s brother, Henry, who was killed in a car crash in 2002.
Mr Taylor, who is being held in custody, will be asked to offer a plea at Kingston Crown Court on May 4.