Home Office ‘will not back down’ in extraordinary legal battle over Prince Harry’s demand for police protection when he and Meghan visit Britain
- Duke of Sussex is seeking a Judicial Review over decision to remove protection
- Harry’s lawyers claim privately hired bodyguards would be insufficient in the UK
- Government officials understood to be infuriated by the Royal’s legal action
The Home Office is refusing to back down in its extraordinary legal battle with Prince Harry over his police protection when he visits Britain, sources said last night.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that the Duke of Sussex, who lives in California and pays for a private security team, is seeking a Judicial Review against the Home Office, questioning a decision to remove his protection in the UK.
After we broke the story, an unnamed spokesman acting for Harry said the legal action was over a Home Office refusal to provide police protection to Harry in the UK – even though the Duke had offered to pay for it.
It comes as a source claimed Harry has extended an olive branch to Prince Charles in a bid to heal their rift ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – as palace officials expect him to fly home this summer to celebrate the milestone, even if it is on his own.
The Home Office is refusing to back down in its extraordinary legal battle with Prince Harry over his police protection when he visits Britain, sources said last night
A legal representative said: ‘The Duke first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham.
‘That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer.’
But now a senior source has told this newspaper: ‘I’ve not seen anything in writing that suggests this is about whether or not he pays for it. It’s about whether or not the security is granted here that is the issue.’
Harry’s lawyers claim that privately hired bodyguards would be insufficient in the UK. But Government officials are understood to have been infuriated by the Royal’s legal action.
A security source said: ‘When Harry left The Firm the terms of his divorce were clear. Like other members of the public, he and his wife are not able to hire armed cops at will – no matter how much they offer to pay.’
The source said protective security was ‘based on role and risk’, and the security they pay for in America could not be replicated in the UK because, ‘we don’t allow people to wonder the street with guns here’, before adding that ‘other minor Royals manage to function in normal life without armed guards. The Home Office is refusing to blink’.
In a briefing document sent to journalists – but withheld from The Mail on Sunday – an unnamed spokesperson for the Sussexes wrote: ‘The UK Home Office ignored pleas for more help and greater flexibility.’
They go on to say that this led the Duke to apply ‘for permission to bring judicial review proceedings’ against Home Secretary Priti Patel.
They added that the Government’s decision-making had taken ‘insufficient account of the Duke’s position; undiminished threats; and the impact on the UK’s reputation of a senior member of the Royal Family being harmed on UK soil.’
If Prince Harry wins the chance to have his review heard, the case will be brought before the High Court.
A source claimed Harry has extended an olive branch to Prince Charles (pictured) in a bid to heal their rift ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Meanwhile, a source told the Sun that Harry has ‘reached out’ to his father, adding that Palace officials expect him to fly home this summer.
He is expected to return to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which will see the country enjoy a four day bank holiday from June 2 to 5 in honour of Her Majesty’s now 70-year reign.
A source told the paper: ‘There has been a definite thaw in relations between Harry and Charles. They are on much better terms and have been having friendly chats and video calls.
‘It has been suggested to Harry he may live to regret any lingering family bitterness, and he has taken that on board.
‘There is a feeling he is coming back more into the fold and wants to be closer to his family.’
It is not known if Meghan Markle, 40, and their children Archie, two, and seven-month-old Lilibet, will be joining him.