The Duke of Sussex’s legal team is due in court today (July 7) to hear whether his lawsuit over police protection against the Government can go ahead. Harry is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.
He is arguing his private protection team in the US does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information needed to keep his family safe from far right extremists and terrorists. A statement issued by the prince’s legal team outlines his aim, saying: “The goal for Prince Harry has been simple — to ensure the safety of himself and his family while in the UK so his children can know his home country.”
However, Robert Palmer QC, acting for the Home Office, previously told the court the Duke’s offer of private funding was “irrelevant” and that “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis”. Buckingham Palace could find itself drawn into the case because it is represented on the body which made the decision, the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC).
Harry’s lawyer has asked for the names of committee members, raising the possibility a member of the royal household could be identified as having been involved in the decision. Shaheed Fatima, who represents the prince in the UK, told the High Court in February: “We’ve been asking about the membership.” Any names are likely to be staff and not members of the royal family, although some courtiers work for specific royals.
Harry first offered to pay for police protection at a meeting with the royals at Sandringham in January 2020, according to a statement issued by his legal representative earlier this year. Dubbed the Sandringham Summit, Harry, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge met to decide the terms of the Sussexes’ exit from royal duties. A statement, first obtained by Newsweek, says: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex personally fund a private security team for their family, yet that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK.
“In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home. “The Duke first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham. “That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer.
“As is widely known, others who have left public office and have an inherent threat risk receive police protection at no cost to them. “The goal for Prince Harry has been simple — to ensure the safety of himself and his family while in the UK so his children can know his home country.” The case comes after Harry’s security was “compromised” in July 2021 when photographers were reported to have followed the Duke from the WellChild Awards charity event.
Harry had returned to the UK to unveil a statue in honour of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997. The January statement from Harry’s legal representative says: “During his last visit to the UK in July 2021 — to unveil a statue in honour of his late mother — his security was compromised due to the absence of police protection, whilst leaving a charity event.
“After another attempt at negotiations was also rejected, he sought a judicial review in September 2021 to challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, in the hopes that this could be re-evaluated for the obvious and necessary protection required.” The Sussexes returned to the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, watching Trooping the Colour and attending a Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Home Office lawyers issued a rebuttal ahead of the court hearing. A February court filing states: “[Prince Harry] has failed to afford the necessary measure of respect to [the Home Office] and RAVEC as the expert, and democratically accountable, decision-maker on matters of protective security and associated risk assessment.”