Prince Harry wins right to challenge decision on police protection

London: Prince Harry has won the right to challenge the British government over a decision not to grant him automatic police protection whenever he is in the country.

Harry, who lives in the United States with his wife Meghan, brought the claim on five grounds, four of which a judge said were “arguable”, albeit with some parts of the grounds removed.

Justice Jonathan Swift ruled on Friday the case could proceed to a judicial review.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, attend a thanksgiving service in London for his grandmother’s Platinum Jubilee in June. Credit:Getty Images

“The application for permission to apply for judicial review is allowed in part and refused in part,” Swift said.

Harry argued that he inherited the security risk at birth, and that as such he and his family should be afforded permanent protective security in the UK – regardless of their status as non-working royals.

Shaheed Fatima QC, for Harry, argued that government policy allowed for state security to be provided to all within the “immediate line of succession”.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex, launched the legal action against the Home Office, arguing he was denied a “clear and full explanation” regarding the people involved in the decision-making.

Prince William and Harry during the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their late mother. Harry brought his own security detail from the US for the visit.Credit:Getty

He said that Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, should not have been involved in the decision to deny him police protection, due to the “significant tensions” between them.

Fatima told the High Court Harry was not informed that members of the Royal Household were involved in the decision.

She said it was not “appropriate” for them to have had any say on the matter, complaining that the duke had been told the Home Office committee responsible was “independent”.

The decision was made by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures, known as Ravec, in February 2020, shortly after Harry announced he was stepping back as a working member of the royal family and moving abroad.

It recognised that Harry occupies a “particular and unusual position” and that he may need protective security in certain circumstances, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Fatima argued the “immediate line of succession” provision had been applied in an “overly rigid” manner as Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, had been excluded from that scope.

However, this ground was rejected by the judge, who said it was not unlawful to limit the first six in line of succession from having automatic security.

The judge also ruled the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s proposed role in official royal life – their favoured “hybrid model” – and the discussions surrounding that, were irrelevant.

Swift also rejected Harry’s claim that he should have been given the identity of those who sit on Ravec, and did not have the chance to discuss the “appropriateness” of certain individuals’ involvement.

“In the course of submissions, it became apparent that, while the claimant may have had disagreements with persons who were Ravec committee members, there was no evidence at all to support a claim that any committee member had approached decisions with a closed mind,” Swift said.

“Ultimately it was accepted for the claimant that no such case was, or could be, advanced.

“As all who are familiar with judicial review claims will know, a conclusion at the permission stage that a case is arguable is some distance from a conclusion that the case will succeed at final hearing.”

Ravec’s new approach to Harry’s security was first applied in June 2021, when he returned to the UK from California to unveil a statue of his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. He was forced to bring his own private security detail from the US.

It was this experience that prompted him to apply for a judicial review in September. He is challenging both the original February 2020 decision and the way it was applied in June.

Harry has also lodged an application for a second judicial review concerning his offer to pay for protection, which he argues should have prompted the Home Office to “quash and retake” its decision.

The Telegraph, London

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