Published On: Sun, Jan 16th, 2022

Prince Harry in legal fight to pay for U.K. police protection

LONDON — Prince Harry is challenging a decision by the British government which does not allow him to pay for his police protection when he returns to the U.K.

The royal wants to bring his two children, Archie and Lilibet, to the U.K. so they can “know his home country,” but it is too risky without proper police protection, his legal representative said in a statement emailed to NBC News on Saturday.

Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have been living in California after finalizing their split from the royal family last year.

The statement added that Harry wanted to pay for the police protection himself, rather than make British taxpayers foot the bill, but he was unable to do so unless the U.K. Home Office allowed him to.

Harry’s security had been “compromised due to the absence of police protection” during a recent visit to the U.K. to unveil a statue in honor of his late mother, Princess Diana, the statement said.

“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 U.K.,” the statement said.

“In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home,” it added.

Harry, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, “inherited a security risk at birth,” and his family has been subjected to “well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats” in recent years, the statement said, noting that other British figures who have left public office and have an inherent threat risk receive police protection at no cost to them.

Harry and his wife Meghan lost publicly funded police protection in the U.K. when they stepped down as senior working royals and moved to the U.S. two years ago.

The couple’s daughter, Lilibet Diana, born in June, has yet to meet her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and other members of the royal family.

“The U.K. will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in,” the statement said. “​​With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.”

As a result, Harry had sought a judicial review in September to challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, his representative said.

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They added that they had decided to make the information about this public because of a leak in the British tabloid press.

In an email to NBC News, a government spokesperson said the U.K.’s protective security system was “rigorous and proportionate,” and it was its long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements.

The spokesperson also added that it would not be ​​appropriate to comment on the detail of any legal proceedings.

Reuters, The Associated Press and Henry Austin contributed.

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