The month of June will bring about many a reason to celebrate for Prince Harry and the royal family. For starters, Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee festivities will take place, marking her historic, record-breaking 70 years on the throne. During the Jubilee, Harry’s daughter Lilibet – named, of course, after his grandmother’s childhood nickname – will turn one year old right in the middle of the celebrations on June 4, and what better way to celebrate than Her Majesty meeting her great-granddaughter Lili for the first time? Plus, later in the month, Harry’s brother Prince William turns the big 4-0 – and one can dream of a world where the brothers mark the occasion together (even if it may be wishful thinking).
But Harry nor his family – wife Meghan and children Archie and Lili – will return to the U.K. without proper police protection, as Harry “does not feel safe” bringing his children to his home country without it, his legal team told the High Court in London yesterday.
When Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal duties in January 2020, they lost their taxpayer funded police protection. Since then, they have privately paid for their own security in the U.S., and were later told that they could not pay to restore their U.K. security out of their own pockets, per PEOPLE.
Harry sought out a judicial review against the Home Office decision that prevented him from personally funding police protection for himself and his family while in the U.K., and the preliminary hearing to reinstate the protection happened yesterday. While Harry himself was not present, his lawyer Shaheed Fatima expressed concerns on his behalf.
“This claim is about the fact that the claimant does not feel safe when he is in the U.K. given the security arrangements that were applied to him in June 2021 and will continue to be applied to him if he decides to come back,” Fatima said at the Royal Courts of Justice, reported The Guardian. “And, of course, it should go without saying that he wants to come back – to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart. Most of all, this is, and always will be, his home.”
The June 2021 instance Fatima referenced is when Harry returned to the U.K. for the unveiling of a statue of his late mother, Princess Diana, in the gardens of Kensington Palace on what would have been her sixtieth birthday, July 1. During this visit, Harry’s car was reportedly chased by photographers through London, conjuring up obvious flashbacks to the manner of his mother’s death in August 1997. By September 2021, Harry applied for judicial review of the security arrangements – a legal challenge to the lawfulness of decisions taken by a public body, PEOPLE explained. Yesterday’s hearing is the initial stages of this process and may lead to lengthier court proceedings.
“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 while in the U.K.,” a previously released statement from Harry’s legal spokesperson said. “In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home.”
The statement continued that Harry initially offered to personally pay for he and his family’s U.K. police protection as far back as January 2020, but that offer was rejected.
“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 continued. “With the lack of police protection comes too great a personal risk.”
According to PEOPLE, at present, only the Queen, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, and Kate Middleton receive 24-hour police protection. Other working royals – like Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex – only receive state protection when they carry out official royal engagements. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie do not receive any government-funded protection at all, and their father, Andrew, lost his own right to protection when he stepped back from royal duties in November 2019.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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