Prince Harry is challenging a decision that he and his family will receive no police protection when on British soil, even if he covers the cost himself, his legal representatives say.
If the case goest to court, it will be a battle between Harry – the Queen’s grandson – and ministers in the Queen’s government.
it is thought to be the first time in modern times that a member of the royal family has brought a case against the British government.
Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle quit royal duties in 2020 to forge new careers in Los Angeles.
Their British security was withdrawn when they left Britain, and as part of a deal thrashed out with the Queen and Harry’s father Prince Charles for the couple to step down as senior working royals.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex first moved to Canada, and then to California. They stated that they had privately funded their security after then US president Donald Trump said his government would not pay for it.
Since then, the Sussexes – who now have son Archie and baby daughter Lilibet – have relied on a private security team. Lilibet, who is seven months, has yet to meet her great-grandmother, the Queen, as – of the family – only Harry has returned to Britain since their bombshell announcement to quit.
However, Harry’s legal representatives said these arrangements did not give the prince the level of protection he needed while visiting Britain.
“In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home,” the statement said.
It cited an incident in July 2021, where they said Harry’s security had been compromised while leaving a charity event due to the lack of police protection.
According to The Guardian, Harry’s car was chased by paparazzi.
Harry’s mother Princess Diana died in a 1997 car crash while trying to escape paparazzi photographers.
The government had previously dismissed two offers to pay for police protection, the prince’s lawyers said.
A spokesperson said the process behind those decisions had been opaque and inconsistent and failed to consider the full risks.
Asked about the statement, a government spokesperson said that Britain’s protective security system was “rigorous and proportionate”, and that it was its long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on any arrangements as this could compromise individuals’ security.
The spokesperson also said it would be “inappropriate” to comment in detail on any legal proceedings.
Harry sought a judicial review – a legal challenge to the lawfulness of decisions taken by a public body – in September 2021, the statement said.
His lawyers said they had decided to make that information public due to a leak in the British press.
“The UK will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in,” the statement said.
“With the lack of police protection comes too great a personal risk. Prince Harry hopes that his petition – after close to two years of pleas for security in the UK – will resolve this situation.”