Prince Harry was asked to give a month's notice before making a trip to the UK
Prince Harry was told to give 28 days notice of his planned trips to the UK so that his security requests could be assessed, it has emerged.
The Duke of Sussex was informed that it would then be a matter for the Home Office to consider whether the requested security arrangements were necessary, following his decision to “step back” from royal duties.
A furious Prince Harry hit back, demanding that the Home Office committee responsible for royal security give him an example of someone with the same threat assessment as him who had received no security after leaving public duty.
He also criticised the arrangements for his family’s visit to Britain in June 2021 for the memorial events for Diana, Princess of Wales, describing them as “patchy, disjointed and inadequate”.
Details of the dispute between the Duke and the Home Office over his future security arrangements were disclosed in legal documents relating to Prince Harry’s libel claim against the Mail on Sunday, which hinges on an allegedly “false claim” concerning his willingness to pay for his own police protection in the UK.
The Duke is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article published last February concerning his legal challenge against the Government’s decision to deny him and his family the right to automatic protection.
The article said he had tried to keep “secret” parts of his legal fight with the Home Office over his security and had attempted to “spin” the dispute in his favour by claiming he had offered to pay for protection himself.
The Duke won a judicial review against the Home Office’s decision to deny his family automatic security in September 2021.
A date for the hearing has not yet been set, but the documents released as part of his legal battle with Associated Newspapers reveal the bitterness of the dispute over security arrangements.
In a summary of his claim against the Home Office’s Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC), Prince Harry’s lawyers state that he is “gravely concerned about his safety and security during future trips to the UK” and that he feels he has no choice but to take legal action “given the gravity of what is at stake for him and his family.”
They add: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been subject to intense media scrutiny, hostile social media attention, and targeting by violent extremists due to (amongst other things) the [Duke’s] ten years of military service in the British Army, the Duchess of Sussex's race and their involvement in charitable and other social justice initiatives.”
The Duke’s lawyers say that the requirement to give 28 days notice of a visit, during which a case by case decision would be made by RAVEC whether to provide him with security, creates uncertainty and could threaten his safety.
They state: “It hinders their ability to plan for and manage his security arrangements; may lead to [the Duke’s] actual arrangements being inadequate and compromise his ultimate security.”
Prince Harry’s legal team cite as an example the Diana memorial events visit, claiming that his security team did not have time to strengthen the proposed security plan.
They say that during a WellChild Awards charity event on July 3, 2021, following the Diana memorial visit, Prince Harry’s car was “interdicted by paparazzi . . . needlessly placing the Duke of Sussex in a dangerous situation”.
At one stage it was suggested by RAVEC officials that the Duke’s security requirements could be assessed by a series of “test trips” to the UK.
The claim documents reveal that in March 2020 the Duke angrily questioned RAVEC’s assessment of his security needs.
He said: "I would like them to provide an example of where someone else has left 'public duty’ with the same threat assessment as me, and received no security”, adding: “I was born into this and the threat will never decrease because of my status regarding the family.”
The Duke has asked Mr Justice Nicklin to rule in his favour without a trial in his libel claim against ANL, an application the newspaper said was “wholly without merit”.