Since Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal life in early 2020, they have made their home in the U.S. And today it has emerged that they feel they are “unable” to return to the UK unless the police protection they feel is necessary to keep them safe is in place.
A legal representative for the Sussexes issued a statement this evening after newspaper the Mail on Sunday broke the story that the Prince had sought a judicial review of a Home Office decision not to allow him to pay for police protection when in the UK. The statement says that Harry “inherited a security risk at birth, for life,” that his private security team “cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK,” and that without such protection “Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home.”
“Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life. He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats. While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family,” the statement reads. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex personally fund a private security team for their family, yet that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK. In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home.”
The couple received taxpayer-funded police protection when they were working royals but lost this when they stepped back in March 2020. A legal representative for the Sussexes said that Harry had offered to pay moving forward when they were in the UK but his attempts to negotiate this were rejected.
The announcement severely dampens any prospect of Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet returning to the UK for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer. While there had been no confirmation of who would attend, it had been hoped that the Sussexes may unite with the royal family for the Queen’s milestone celebrations. She has never met Lilibet, who was named after her, and as the Queen no longer undertakes long-haul travel the Sussexes’ position makes it a very real possibility that they will never meet.
The statement issued this evening says that Harry offered to pay for UK police protection during discussions negotiating his future within the royal family in January 2020 but his offer was “dismissed.” It adds that Harry remains “willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer…The goal for Prince Harry has been simple – to ensure the safety of himself and his family while in the UK so his children can know his home country.”
The statement said that when Harry visited the UK in July 2021 to unveil the statue of Princess Diana his “security was compromised due to the absence of police protection, whilst leaving a charity event.” This is thought to refer to the WellChild event that the Prince attended in west London while in the UK for the statue unveiling.
The Prince sought a judicial review of the decision over his security in September 2021, which will look at how the decision was reached. The Prince hopes this will see the decision “re-evaluated.”
“The UK will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk. Prince Harry hopes that his petition – after close to two years of pleas for security in the UK – will resolve this situation,” the statement says.
Harry and Meghan have private security for their home in Montecito, California where they live with two-year-old Archie and seven-month-old Lilibet, who has never been to the UK.