Prince Harry loses court challenge over security

He was stripped of full police protection after stepping down from official role in 2020

Prince Harry has lost a High Court challenge over his security arrangements while visiting the UK. AP
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Prince Harry on Tuesday lost a court challenge against the Home Office over his security arrangements when visiting the UK.

He was stripped of the police security usually afforded to royal figures after he and his American wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, stepped down from their official roles in 2020 to move to the US.

The High Court in London, which last year agreed he should be allowed to challenge an original decision to end the protection, ruled he could not also seek a judicial review over whether to let him pay for the specialist police officers himself.

The decision to strip him of publicly-funded protection was taken by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures, known as Ravec, which approves security for the royal family and VIPs, such as the prime minister.

The Home Office, opposing Prince Harry’s claim, said Ravec considered it was “not appropriate” for wealthy people to “buy” protective security, which might include armed officers, when it had decided that “the public interest does not warrant” someone receiving such protection on a publicly-funded basis.

Judge Martin Chamberlain said in his written ruling that Ravec was not arguably wrong to decide that allowing payment for protective security was against the public interest, and rejected the prince's second challenge on a number of grounds.

The court was told at the earlier hearing that Prince Harry’s latest legal challenge was related to an earlier claim he brought against the Home Office after he was told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting the UK.

A full hearing in that challenge, which also focuses on Ravec’s decision-making and for which Prince Harry was given the go-ahead last summer, is yet to be held.

The ruling comes less than a week after Prince Harry's representative said the prince, his wife Meghan and her mother were involved in a “near-catastrophic” car chase with press photographers after an awards ceremony in New York.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan in 'near-catastrophic car chase'

Prince Harry and wife Meghan in 'near-catastrophic car chase'

Tuesday’s ruling comes amid a continuing High Court trial, in which Prince Harry is bringing a contested claim against Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations of unlawful information gathering.

Harry is also waiting for rulings over whether similar cases against publishers Associated Newspapers Limited and News Group Newspapers can go ahead.

A judgment is also expected in his libel claim against ANL – publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday – over an article on his case against the Home Office.

Updated: May 23, 2023, 11:03 AM