Prince Harry is having to jump through some real hoops to hop back across the pond. In a Feb. 18 preliminary hearing over his request for his U.K.-based police security to be reinstated (even at his own financial cost), his lawyer said the California-based royal wants to visit his family but “does not feel safe” doing so.
In September, Harry filed for an official judicial review to challenge a British government decision that denies him the taxpayer-funded protection he lost access to when he and wife Meghan Markle announced their plans to step back from their duties as senior royals. While he did visit the U.K. twice last year, he traveled without Meghan or their kids Archie Harrison, 2, and 8-month-old Lilibet “Lili” Diana.
“This claim is about the fact that the Duke does not feel safe when he is in the U.K. given the security arrangements applied to him in June 2021 and will continue to be applied if he decides to come back,” Harry’s lawyer, Shaheed Fatima, said in a statement obtained by E! News following the hearing at London’s High Court on Friday, Feb. 18.
“It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart. This is and always will be his home.” According to The Telegraph newspaper, the judge rebuked the lawyer after she pleaded Harry’s case at the hearing, telling her, “Can you just focus on the issues in dispute today,” noting that the preliminary hearing was about whether the court can restrict public access to documents about the case.
A Feb. 16 filing from the judge overseeing the case states that that the U.K. Home Office plans to oppose Harry’s challenge. It says the group maintains that the duke has “failed to afford the necessary measures of respect to the Home Office and RAVEC [Royal and VIP Executive Committee] as the expert, and democratically accountable, decision-maker on matters of protective security and associated risk assessment.”
The filing adds that the Home Office also maintains that Harry’s “offer of private funding is irrelevant,” adding that “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis, and that he also allegedly did not offer to pay for police protection when he returned to the U.K. in June.
In a January statement, after the court challenge was made public, Harry’s legal representative said that the duke “inherited a security risk at birth, for life” and that in recent years, “his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.
” His lawyer also noted that during his most recent trip last June, Harry’s “security was compromised due to absence of police protection.”
Though Harry and Meghan personally fund a private security team in the United States, that “cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the U.K.,” his lawyer continued in the January statement, adding that “in the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home.”