The Duke of Sussex has applied for a judicial review, which is a formal challenge in the High Court against a decision made by a public body or government department (in this case, the Home Office). Harry’s taxpayer-funded police security was taken away on his departure from royal life. After moving to the US with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, the couple made known that they had pursued ‘privately funded security arrangements’, when then-president Donald Trump stressed his country would not finance their protection.
The duke argues that the private security team he uses in the US does not have the correct jurisdiction to operate abroad, and therefore is not equipped to offer the level of police protection in the UK. He has stressed that he wants to be able to visit with his family, the Duchess of Sussex and their young children, Archie and seven-month-old Lilibet, who has yet to meet her grandfather, Prince Charles, or great-grandmother, the Queen, but that he wants to ‘ensure’ their safety.
As reported in the MailOnline, a statement issued over the weekend by a legal representative for the duke sets out his reasoning for the claim, reading: ‘Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life. He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats. While his role within the institution has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family.
‘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 statement also discloses that the duke ‘first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham’, but ‘that offer was dismissed.’ He is said to remain ‘willing to cover the cost of security, so as not to impose on the British taxpayer.’ It is added that his ‘goal’ is ‘simple’: ‘to ensure the safety of himself and his family while in the UK so his children can know his home country.’
The statement also references an incident that took place in July last year, when Harry’s car was chased by photographers, according to BBC News. The duke’s legal representative states that during ‘his last visit to the UK… – to unveil a statue in honor of his late mother – his security was compromised, due to the absence of police protection, whilst leaving a charity event.’ It’s said he then decided to seek a judicial review in September 2021, after ‘another attempt at negotiations was also rejected… in the hopes that this could be re-evaluated for the obvious and necessary protection required.’ The statement ends by stressing that the UK ‘will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in’, concluding: ‘With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.’
A government spokesperson responded by saying that the UK’s ‘protective security system is rigorous and proportionate’, adding: ‘It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements. To do so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals’ security.’
Former royal protection officers have said that to grant Harry police protection risks setting a standard for high-profile private citizens. Simon Morgan, formerly a royal protection officer and now a director of a security firm, Trojan Consultancy, told the Times: ‘This is nothing that the Royal Family can influence… It’s nothing that the Metropolitan Police can influence. If you went down a route of him paying for it, that sets a precedent. Who then becomes the employer? For example, why couldn’t Bill Gates get official projection if he offers to pay?’
Originally published on Tatler.com