Prince Harry loses High Court challenge over UK security levels

Published on: 24 Feb Wed
The Duke of Sussex failed to overturn a previous ruling which saw his security status downgraded after he stopped being a working royal. The High Court said that decision was neither unlawful nor irrational. Prince Harry will seek to appeal the latest ruling and "hopes he will obtain justice", a legal spokesperson said. His lawyers had argued the way the decision was made had been unfair, which the High Court ruling said was not the case. Prince Harry launched the legal challenge after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of publicly-funded protection when in the country. The Home Office said his security on UK visits should be decided on a case-by-case basis, and on Wednesday said it was "pleased" by the court's finding. Arguing against the Duke's challenge, Home Office lawyers told the High Court Prince Harry would still have publicly-funded police security, but these would be "bespoke arrangements, specifically tailored to him", rather than the automatic security provided for full-time working royals. Much of the legal proceedings, which covered security arrangements for senior figures, were held in private in December, with the ruling issued by retired High Court judge Sir Peter Lane on Wednesday morning. The ruling could have implications for the Duke's future visits to the UK, as he previously argued that the lower level of security has made it difficult to bring his family to the country. Harry faced tensions with official on security committee Prince Harry able to challenge security decisions Prince Harry can't pay privately for police protection In the ruling, Sir Peter rejected the Duke's case, finding that there had not been any unlawfulness in reaching the decision to downgrade Prince Harry's security status, and that any departure from policy was justified. It found the decision was not irrational, or procedurally unfair. In the 51-page, partially redacted document, Sir Peter said Harry's lawyers had taken "an inappropriate... interpretation" of how he got security under the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (Ravec) which arranges security for members of the Royal Family and other VIPs. It has delegated responsibility from the Home Office, and has involvement from the Metropolitan Police, the Cabinet Office and the royal household. The ruling also found that the "'bespoke' process devised" for Prince Harry by Ravec "was, and is, legally sound". Going into more detail on Prince Harry's position, Sir Peter wrote in his ruling that the Duke "considers he should receive protective security from the State, whenever he is in Great Britain, because of his position within the Royal Family and factors concerning his past and present situations. Ravec did not share this view." He went on to say that in January 2020, the cabinet secretary told Harry's private secretary "that the claimant should have no expectation of his existing security arrangements remaining the same" and this was "reiterated" at another meeting later in month. Last year, Prince Harry lost a separate legal bid to be allowed to make private payments for police protection when he was visiting the UK, in a case that also focused on concerns about reduced security since ceasing to be a full-time working royal.