The Mail on Sunday is facing a multimillion pound lawsuit from Madonna over its publication of her wedding photographs.

The high court in London heard today that the singer is claiming more then £5 million in damages over pictures copied "surreptitiously" by an interior designer during work at her home in Beverly Hills, California.

No photos of Madonna's 2000 marriage to Guy Ritchie had ever been published until October 19th this year when the newspaper printed 11 pictures on its front page and in a double-page spread.

Madonna's barrister, Matthew Nicklin, claims the Mail on Sunday "makes no attempt" to defend its publication of the photographs, for which it paid £5,000.

"She was ambushed, for the simple reason that if the Mail on Sunday had told her what they intended to do, the claimant would have sought and obtained an injunction," he told the court.

He said his client was seeking "in excess of £5 million, being the estimated value of the photographs".

Mr Justice Eady, presiding, has entered judgement in Madonna's favour on the issue of liability.

Further proceedings to assess the damages are expected at the high court next year.

Madonna and Ritchie were granted a divorce last month.

The high court declared a decree nisi after the pair reached a financial settlement and an agreement over the shared custody of their children.

They are parents to Rocco, eight, and David Banda, three, who was adopted from Malawi in 2006, while Madonna also has a 12-year-old daughter, Lourdes, from a relationship with personal trainer Carlos Leon.

08/12/2008 17:36:51