Prince Harry is challenging a government decision that doesn’t allow him to personally pay for police protection when he and his family visit the UK.
A legal representative for Harry, the Duke of Sussex, released a statement Saturday about his choice to seek a judicial review, in which a court will examine whether the decision to bar him from paying for police protection out of pocket was made lawfully and fairly.
"In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home,” the representative said.
When the duke and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, announced that they would step back as working members of the royal family in January 2020, they lost the UK taxpayer-funded security granted to senior royals. At the time, according to the representative, Harry offered to pay for continued police protection, but that request was not approved by the UK Home Office.
“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,” the representative said in a statement. “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.”
After a stint in Canada, Harry, Meghan, and their son, Archie, moved to the US following their departure from the royal family, where they eventually hired their own security team. According to their representative, that private team can't legally provide the level of protection they need in the UK, and it's already caused a problem.
On a trip back to the UK in July 2021, Harry’s security was allegedly compromised as he left a charity event because he didn't have police protection, which was what prompted him to take legal action. The duke is still “willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer,” the representative said.
The threat is particularly high against the Sussexes in the UK from extremist groups as well as others fixated on the controversy around their leaving, their spokesperson said.
“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 legal representative's statement said.
“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.”
Meghan and Archie have not returned to the UK since the split; nor has the couple's new daughter, Lilibet, who was born June 4, 2021, in California.
“The UK will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. 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,” the representative also said.
In the couple's explosive interview with Oprah in March 2021, Meghan described the stress they felt after learning they'd be losing their security team.
"I even wrote letters to his family saying, ‘Please, it's very clear the protection of me or Archie is not a priority. I accept that. That is fine. Please keep my husband safe. I see the death threats. I see the racist propaganda. Please keep him safe. Please don't pull his security and announce to the world when he and we are most vulnerable,’” Meghan said at the time. “And they said it's just not possible.”