LONDON – The Duke of Sussex, who now resides principally in the U.S., has been engaged in a drawn – out dispute over whether he is entailed to pay for his own police protection when visiting the U.K. Earlier this summer, he was granted permission to bring a High Court challenge against the Home Office over its previous decision that Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, would no longer be granted the ‘same degree’ of protection as when they were working royals. Now, the duke has launched a fresh legal challenge, reportedly pursuing a further lawsuit that also names the Metropolitan Police.
According to the MailOline, reports of the second suit – concerning the British government and Scotland Yard – were confirmed by the High Court on 4 August (which also happened to be Meghan’s birthday). The Judicial Office told the tabloid: ‘It is at an early stage, no hearing have been listed yet and no decisions have been made’.
The new case focuses on action taken in January 2020 by the Royalty and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC), deciding that private individuals should not be permitted to pay for police protection. The MailOnline reports that the Queen’s Private Secretary, Sir Edward Young, is also mentioned in the case, having allegedly been involved in Ravec’s decision.
While Harry’s taxpayer – funded police security was taken away when he stepped down as a royal, the duke has argued that he should be able to pay for protection for himself, Meghan, and the couple’s children, Archie and Lilibet, when the family visit his birth country. His lawyers previously said the UK ‘will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in’, maintaining that ‘the lack of police protection’ carries ‘too great a personal risk’.
The MailOnline alleges that the duke’s legal action against the Home Office so far – thought to be the first time a Royal Family member has pursued such measures against the British government – could have reached a cost of around 100,000 pounds. If the prince was to lose the court case, however, the Home Office would be awarded back its expenditure, which would reduce the final cost to taxpayers.
Given that the case relates to Harry and his family’s security arrangements, a judge previously ruled that parts of the legal battle would be kept out of the press. The duke and the Home Office are believed to have agreed on the ‘vast majority’ of material that should be redacted from witness evidence, according to the Sun.
A government spokesperson told the MailOnline: ‘The UK Government’s protective security system is rigorous and proportionate. It is our long – standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements, as doing so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals’ security. It would not be appropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings’. The tabloid reportedly also reached out to Schillings, Harry’s UK legal representatives, and the Met for comment.
Harry has also been pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. The libel claim regards an article published by the Sunday paper back in February, with the headline: ‘Revealed: How Harry tried to keep his legal fight over bodyguards secret’.