Lawyers acting for Harry, who stepped down from Royal duties two years ago, wrote ‘pre-action protocol’ letter to Home Office, indicating they’ll seek judicial review if continued security isn’t provided by UK .If the case proceeds, it will lead to a battle in the High Court between Ministers and Prince Harry. The Queen is understood to have been made aware of her grandson Harry’s action, which is thought to be the first time a member of the Royal Family has brought a legal case against Her Majesty’s Government.
Prince Harry is taking legal action against the Government over its decision to remove his UK police security, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Lawyers acting for Harry, who stepped down from Royal duties two years ago, have written a ‘pre-action protocol’ letter to the Home Office, indicating that they will seek a judicial review if the Sussexes are not provided with continued security while they are in Britain – which they make clear he is happy to pay for.
If the case proceeds, it will lead to a battle in the High Court between Ministers and Prince Harry. Harry’s argument is that his private protection team in the US does not have access to UK intelligence information, which is needed to keep his wife and children safe.
The Queen is understood to have been made aware of her grandson’s action, which is thought to be the first time a member of the Royal Family has brought a case against Her Majesty’s Government. A source said: ‘Harry’s argument in a nutshell is: “You got the law wrong.” He feels the decision to remove his security was wrong. Pre-action protocol was sent by Harry’s lawyers to the Home Office a couple of months ago. This is essentially a precursor to a judicial review.’
Late last night, after the story broke in early editions of the Mail on Sunday, the Prince’s lawyers issued an extraordinary statement defending his decision to sue the British Government – and insisting he would not rely on taxpayers to fund his family’s security. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had earlier been contacted by the MoS for comment, but did not respond before it went to press.
The legal action was sparked after Harry’s most recent trip to the UK in July, when his police protection had been removed. A source said: ‘When Harry came back last April for Prince Philip’s funeral, he was given security. But when he came back in the summer, he wasn’t.’ Ahead of the funeral, Harry travelled to Britain with his private security team, but was met on the tarmac at Heathrow by Scotland Yard protection officers.
It is understood that was not the case when he returned to the UK for the unveiling of a statue of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace with his brother William in July. Following a 20-minute reception after the unveiling, Harry left with bodyguards thought to have been provided at his own expense. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made no secret of their unhappiness at the removal of their taxpayer-funded security.
The couple were living in Canada – guarded by publicly funded British UK and Canadian security – when ‘Megxit’ was announced in January 2020. At the same time, the security section of their new website – on which they detailed their notion of a ‘new working model’ – described them as ‘internationally protected people’. But the ‘working model’ had not been agreed by the Queen and the section was swiftly removed.
Following crisis talks at Sandringham, it was eventually agreed that the Sussexes would no longer use their ‘HRH’ titles and Harry was stripped of his military honours. Meanwhile, a ‘Royal and VIP Executive Committee’ comprising the Home Secretary, the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection command chief and palace officials decided that the couple’s 24-hour protection could not continue given they were no longer working Royals living in Britain. That decision clearly rankled with Harry, who used the bombshell TV interview with US chat-show host Oprah Winfrey last March to express his anger.
He said: ‘The biggest concern was that while we were in Canada, in someone else’s house, I then got told at short notice security was going to be removed… Their justification is a change in status, of which I pushed back and said, “Well, is there a change of threat or risk?” ‘And after many weeks of waiting, eventually I got the confirmation that no, the risk and threat hasn’t changed but [it was] due to our change in status, [by] which we would no longer be official working members of the Royal Family.’ He added: ‘My family literally cut me off financially and I had to afford security for us.’
Ms Winfrey said the couple were not paid for the interview, but Harry had, by then, received a reported £500,000 fee to give a keynote speech to J P Morgan bankers in Miami. Before moving into their nine-bedroom, £10 million home in Montecito, California, they were given the use of a mansion owned by entertainment tycoon Tyler Perry, who also provided the couple with security. Meghan told Ms Winfrey: ‘We needed a house and he offered security as well, so it gave us breathing room to try to figure out what we were going to do.’
Harry’s decision to instruct his lawyers to take legal action against the Government could inflame tensions with his family. It also provides a further headache for the Queen only days after she stripped Prince Andrew of his military honours and charity patronages after a US judge ruled that a claim of sex abuse made against him – and vehemently denied – would proceed.