Home Office Won't Yield to Prince Harry in Legal Battle Over His Police Protection in UK: Report
05:52 GMT 23.01.2022 (Updated: 07:24 GMT 23.01.2022)
The Metropolitan Police Service, which protects members of the Royal Family around the world, stopped providing security for Prince Harry and his wife after they stepped down from royal duties while in Canada last spring.
The Home Office "will not back down" in its extraordinary legal battle against Prince Harry
over his police protection when he visits the UK later this year, the Daily Mail
has cited unnamed sources as saying.
After giving up royal duties last year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now have to pay the cost of their security on their own, and according to some estimates, security for the couple requires up to $3 million annually. Earlier this month, Prince Harry launched a legal action over the Home Office's reluctance to provide police protection to him in the UK.
One of the security sources told the Daily Mail that they "have not seen anything in writing that suggests this is about whether or not he pays for it. It's about whether or not the security is granted here that is the issue".
"When Harry left The Firm the terms of his divorce were clear. Like other members of the public, he and his wife are not able to hire armed cops at will – no matter how much they offer to pay", the source added.
It was a thinly-veiled nod to a previous statement by Prince Harry's representative, who said that "the Duke first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham" and that the "offer was dismissed". According to the representative, Harry "remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer".
The source cited by the Daily Mail, in turn, underscored that protective security was "based on role and risk". The insider pointed out that the security the Duke and Duchess of Sussex pay for in America could not be replicated in the UK because, "we [the government] don't allow people to wonder [sic] the street with guns here". The source added that "other minor royals manage to function in normal life without armed guards. The Home Office is refusing to blink".
Separately, the Daily Mail quoted an unnamed spokesperson for the Sussexes as saying that "the UK Home Office ignored [Prince Harry's] pleas for more help and greater flexibility".
The remarks come after legal representatives of Prince Harry filed a "pre-action protocol" letter with the Home Office, stating that they are ready to sue the UK government if no further security is provided when the Sussexes travel to Britain this summer to take part in celebrations dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign.
27 October 2021, 21:18 GMT
Late last week, an unnamed royal source was cited by The Sun as saying that the Queen is unlikely to support Harry's efforts to regain the police protection because "it is not a matter for Her Majesty's government".
Having stepped down from their royal duties last spring, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
, who currently reside in California are no longer protected by the Metropolitan Police Service. Still, Prince Harry was accompanied by UK police when he arrived in Britain last April to attend Prince Philip's funeral, but when he returned for the unveiling of a statue of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace with his brother William in July, he had to pay for his security on his own.