Prince Harry asserted that he was ‘compelled’ to withdraw from royal obligations and relocate to the US.
The Duke of Sussex explained in the High Court that if it is ‘not feasible to ensure their safety,’ his children cannot ‘feel at home’ in Britain.
In a written statement submitted for his legal dispute with the Home Office regarding alterations to his security arrangements during UK visits, Prince Harry expressed that he and Meghan had no alternative but to depart the country in 2020.
He emphasized the UK as his home, integral to his children’s heritage, and a place he desires them to feel as comfortable as their current residence in the US. This, he argued, is not feasible if their safety cannot be assured on UK soil.
‘I cannot put my wife in danger like that and, given my experiences in life, I am reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm’s way too.’
Harry now faces a wait for a judge’s ruling on his legal action against the Home Office after a two-and-half-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice concluded on Thursday.
The duke’s lawyers are challenging the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) to change the degree of his publicly funded security, arguing it was ‘unlawful and unfair’.
The majority of the proceedings were held in private, without the public or press present, due to confidential evidence over security measures being involved in the case.
Ms Fatima has previously told the court that Harry was ‘singled out’ and treated ‘less favourably’ in a decision to change the level of his personal security.
She said Ravec failed to carry out a risk analysis and fully consider the impact of a ‘successful attack’ on him.
The barrister said a ‘crucial’ part of Ravec’s approach was an analysis carried out by the Risk Management Board (RMB), but it had chosen not to do this in Harry’s case.
The body responsible mentioned that it was the first instance of them departing from the established policy, adopting a notably inferior procedure concerning critical safeguards.
They failed to provide a valid reason for singling out the claimant (the duke) in this manner, suggesting that a proper consideration of Harry’s case might have led to a different outcome. However, the Government contends that Harry’s claim should be rejected, asserting that Ravec, under the Home Office’s jurisdiction, had the right to decide on a ‘bespoke’ and ‘case-by-case’ evaluation for the duke’s protection.
Sir James Eadie KC, representing the Home Office, argued that this tailored approach allowed for a more effective and informed assessment of the threat and risk for each visit, refuting the notion that it treated Harry ‘less favorably.’ He emphasized that the impact, including the death of Princess Diana, was indeed taken into account in the decision-making process.
He added: ‘Ravec gave greater weight to the impact on state functions being lessened as a result of the change, over likely significant public upset were a successful attack on (Harry) to take place.’
Mr Justice Lane will give his judgment over the case at a later date.
The security case is one of five High Court claims the duke is involved in, including extensive litigation against newspaper publishers.”
Harry, who was not present at the hearing, lives in North America with wife Meghan and their children Archie and Lilibet after the couple announced they were stepping back as senior royals in January 2020.
Ms Fatima had earlier opened today’s hearing by saying: ‘This case is about the right to safety and security of a person, there could not be a right of greater importance to any of us.’
She said in written submissions that the risk the duke faces ‘arises from his birth and ongoing status, as the son of HM the King’.
She continued: ‘The claimant’s consistent position has been – and remains – that he should be given state security in light of the threats/risks he faces.’
The barrister later said the duke is ‘plainly’ part of the group that should be considered by Ravec.
Ms Fatima said: ‘The effect of the February 20 decision is that Ravec is only required to consider protective security for the Duke of Sussex when he visits the UK.
‘That does not mean he is no longer one of the principals that Ravec is required to consider; he plainly is.’
But rejecting her arguments, Sir James Eadie KC, for the Home Office said: ‘There is no recognised common law right to publicly funded protection.’
He said Harry was offered ‘bespoke’ treatment, as his security needs were assessed whenever he alerted the Home Office that he was planning to visit Britain.
He said in written submissions: ‘In considering whether to provide protective security to any such individual… Ravec considers the risk of a successful attack on that individual.
‘In summary, Ravec considers the threat that an individual faces, which is assessed by reference to the capability and intent of hostile actors, the vulnerability of that individual to such an attack, and the impact that such an attack would have on the interests of the state.’
He continued: ‘As a result of the fact that he would no longer be a working member of the Royal Family, and would be living abroad for the majority of the time, his position had materially changed.
‘In those circumstances, protective security would not be provided on the same basis as before. However, he would, in particular and specific circumstances, be provided protective security when in Great Britain.’
Sir James continued: ‘Ravec has, accordingly, treated the claimant in a bespoke manner.