Prince Harry: Insecure at home?
Daniel Leal / AFP
In the years-long dispute over security precautions during his visits to the UK, Prince Harry is conducting another lawsuit. In the prince's absence, his lawyer Shaheed Fatima argued at the start of the trial that the British Home Office was denying him his right to security in his home country. The younger son of King Charles III is entitled to protection because of his "status, history and position within the royal family".
Harry and his wife Meghan had retired from their royal duties in April 2020 and now live in California with their two young children. As a result, the two lost their taxpayer-funded police protection in the UK. As a result, the British Home Office refused to assign police officers to Harry's security during visits to his home country, even though the prince himself wanted to pay for the costs of the operation.
The proceedings, which began on Tuesday in London's High Court, specifically concern the Home Office's decision in February 2020 to grant Prince Harry police protection only on a case-by-case basis. This brings with it an "inordinate uncertainty" for the prince and his security team, his lawyer criticized. In written submissions to the court, she stressed that it would damage Britain's reputation if there were an attack on the Duke of Sussex in his old homeland.
No official function – no protection
Attorney James Eadie, who is representing the Home Office in the lawsuit, justified the limited promise of protection. The fact that Prince Harry only receives police protection under "certain conditions" and "depending on the context" is due to the "change in his status" that the prince himself has brought about with the decision to become "a member of the royal family without an official function".
In the U.S., Harry and Meghan employ their own private security team. However, they argue that their security guards in the UK do not have sufficient skills or access to intelligence to protect the family. Prince Harry therefore offered to cover the costs of his own police protection during stays in the UK.
However, this was also rejected by the Ministry of the Interior in May. The ministry's lawyers argued that it was "not appropriate" for rich people to be able to "buy" government protections when it had previously been decided that taxpayer-funded protections were not in the public interest for them.