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Prince Harry's Legal Battle Against Home Office Raises Tension with The Royal Family

The Duke of Sussex's second court case against the Home Office over security arrangements raises tension with the Royal Family after it was discovered the British Royal Household was involved in the decision to strip him of taxpayer-funded police protection. 

Prince Harry thought the decision was entirely from the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) and no involvement from the Royal Family.

Meghan Markle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

In 2021, the Duke of Sussex sued the Home Office over its decision in 2020 to remove his taxpayer-funded police protection after he and Meghan stepped back from senior royal roles.

Prince Harry, through his legal representatives, said it's unsafe for him to come to Britain with his wife and two children without police protection.

The revelations of the second legal battle raised by Prince Harry's legal team emerged on the Duchess of Sussex's 41st birthday on August 4, 2022. 

It can also be recalled that The Royal Family's official social media accounts did not post anything about Meghan's birthday.

The Duke of Sussex's legal representative told the court earlier this month: “He (Prince Harry) didn’t know at that stage that the Royal Household was involved at all. He was told it was an independent decision.”

Second Legal Battle Against Home Office

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, has filed a legal action for the second time against the Home Office over a decision not to allow him to pay for police protection for himself, his wife, and two children when visiting the United Kingdom.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Harry and Meghan returned to the UK in June this year to attend the Queen's Jubilee

Last month, July, he won a bid to bring part of a High Court challenge against the Home Office over his security arrangements. 

His lawyers are seeking permission from the High Court for a full hearing to have a judicial review of the Home Office's decision not to allow the duke to pay for Police Protection. This means there will be a full High Court hearing to review the duke’s claim.

Prince Harry and his family were not able to attend the memorial service for Prince Philip in March this year due to the Home Office's refusal to grant him Police Protection. 

His legal representative said, "it was too dangerous for the Sussexes to return to the United Kingdom without police protection".

Tension within the Royal Family

However, Prince Harry's second legal battle against the Home Office threatens to raise tensions with his own family (The Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William) due to claims that the Queen's Private Secretary, Sir Edward Young, was involved in the decision to deny him police protection. 

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex

The Duke of Sussex's legal team told the High Court he was unaware of the involvement of the Royal Household. This created significant tensions with The Queen's private secretary.

His legal team argued it was not appropriate for Sir Edward Young to get involved in the decision to remove his Scotland Yard police protection.

Sir Edward Young, The Queen's private secretary

Sir Edward Young is the current private secretary to The Queen. As Her Majesty's top aide, he acts as the main channel of communication between the monarch and the UK government, as well as those in the Commonwealth.

Sir Edward Young held the position since 2019, a year before Harry and Meghan stepped back from their senior royal roles.

What is Home Office?

Home Office, founded in 1782, is a ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for immigration, security, and law and order. 

It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs, counter-terrorism, and ID cards. It was formerly responsible for Her Majesty's Prison Service and the National Probation Service, but these have been transferred to the Ministry of Justice.

Police Protection for the Royal Family

All working members of the British royal family have police protection from the Scotland Yard Police Force. It is a taxpayer-funded security detail for the Royal Family.

The British Royal Family at Trooping the Colors, 2010

However, members of the Queen's family who are not working royals do not have police protection. For instance, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie who are not working members of the Royal Family, have their own security services/bodyguards, which they personally funded.

The bodyguards of the non-working royals are hired from private security agencies and not from the police force of the United Kingdom.

Why Prince Harry wants Police Protection?

The taxpayer-funded police protection of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was removed when they officially stepped back from senior royal roles in March 2020. They have funded their own bodyguards/protection security team in the United States.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their children

He first offered to personally pay for police protection in the UK for himself and his family during the so-called Sandringham summit in January 2020, but that offer was said to have been dismissed. 

Prince Harry then took legal action against the Home Office for not allowing him to avail the Police Protection even if he will pay for the security cost.

Harry and Meghan only photographed with his cousins publicly in June this year but not with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

So why Prince Harry wants police protection in the United Kingdom despite having a team of security already protecting him and his family?

Prince Harry, through his legal representatives, cited reasons why he and his family needed police protection.

1. The duke remains a member of the British royal family and retains his place and those of his children in the line of succession, thus, pose security risks of being kidnapped, etc.

2. He had served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and, thus, subjected to extremist threats.

3. In recent years, the Royal family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.

4. While his role within the British establishment has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family.

5. While he personally fund a private security team in the United States for his family, that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed while in the UK. 

6. His security team in the United States does not have adequate access to UK intelligence information which is needed to keep the Sussex family safe. 

Why the Home Office wouldn't grand Prince Harry's request?

So the question now is, why the Home Office would not allow Prince Harry to have police protection even if he will cover the security cost?

Prince Harry's second legal action against the Home Office over the security row focuses on the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) over his security, after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting the United Kingdom.

RAVEC concluded that private individuals, including non-working members of the Royal Family, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED to pay for police to protect them. 

Since the police services are taxpayers funded, they are not supposed to provide security services to private individuals unless stipulated by law. Even if these individuals will pay for the security cost.

The Legal Battle

The Duke of Sussex's legal team argued that the security arrangements set out in a letter from RAVEC, and their application when he visited the UK in June 2021, were invalid due to “procedural unfairness” because he was not given an opportunity to make “informed representations beforehand”.

His legal representative told the court earlier this month: “He (Prince Harry) didn’t know at that stage that the Royal Household was involved at all. He was told it was an independent decision.”

However, lawyers for the Home Office say RAVEC was entitled to reach the decision it did, which is that Harry’s security arrangements will be considered on a “case by case” basis, and argue that permission for a full judicial review should be refused.

Prince Harry was granted permission on the arguments including that RAVEC’s decisions were legally unreasonable, and that the duke should have been told about RAVEC’s policy before its decision in February 2020.

Visiting in September

It was also announced recently, that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be visiting the United Kingdom this coming September. It will be their first time in UK since the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebration in June this year.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in March 2020

Harry and Meghan will attend several charity events, including the One Young World Summit in Manchester on September 5. 

They will then head to Germany for the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 One Year to Go event, before returning to the UK for the Well Child Awards on September 8. 

It is not known however if they will see The Queen, Prince William, or Prince Charles during their UK visit. September 5 coincides with a busy day for Her Majesty as it will be the day the new British Prime Minister will be announced. 

On the following day, September 6, Her Majesty will receive the new Prime Minister at her office in Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

It looks like the rift between the Sussexes and the Royal Family is far from over.

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