Prince Harry has vowed to appeal after losing a High Court battle with the Home Office over the downgrading of his police protection.
The Duke of Sussex potentially faces a huge bill to repay taxpayers’ legal costs after a judge said he had failed to prove the decision was illegal or unfair.
Harry, 39, took the Home Office to court for no longer receiving the “same degree” of protection after he and his wife Meghan quit royal life and left Britain in January 2020.
He compared the dangers to himself and his family to the risks his mother, Princess Diana, faced before her death in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.
Yesterday’s 52-page ruling revealed that he had demanded to know who in the government was responsible for the decision, saying: “I would like to know the name of that person.”
Prince Harry (pictured last March outside the High Court) has vowed to appeal after losing a High Court battle with the Home Office over the downgrading of his police protection.
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He complained that his visits to Britain were unsafe, and Judge Sir Peter Lane said that when he and Meghan used a train to visit Manchester in September 2022, he “expressed concerns due to his proximity to the public”.
Harry’s US private security specialist told the High Court that Harry had felt cornered during a visit to the Wellchild Awards in Kew, west London, in June 2021, when “the paparazzi made them feel like easy targets”.
He argued that he had been “singled out” and treated unfairly when his automatic police protection was withdrawn following the “Sandringham Summit” with the late Queen in January 2020, just before leaving the UK.
After feeling unsafe when he came to Britain in the summer of 2021 to unveil a statue of his late mother with his brother William, Harry took legal action.
He filed an appeal for judicial review against the decision of the executive committee for the Protection of royalty and public figures (Ravec), dependent on the Ministry of the Interior.
At a hearing in London last December, the Government insisted that Harry’s claim should be dismissed, arguing that Ravec was entitled to conclude that the duke’s protection should be “tailor-made” and considered “on a case-by-case basis.”
Home Office lawyers said Britain had “finite public resources” and it was appropriate for police protection to be limited to those “acting in the interests of the State through their public role”. Sir Peter’s ruling concluded that there was “no illegality” in Ravec’s decision nor was it “irrational” or “marred by procedural injustice”.
Harry had argued that, just because he was no longer a senior royal, that did not lessen the threats he faced by virtue of being in line to the throne and “a Prince of the Realm.”
But the judge said Ravec “was fully aware of the plaintiff’s status, background and profile” when he made his decision.
Prince Harry and Meghan, photographed at an Invictus Games event in Canada on February 14, 2024
Sir Peter praised the Ravec committee and its then chairman, Sir Richard Mottram, for their “significant knowledge and experience” in a highly specialized area.
Harry insisted that Ravec should have considered the “impact a successful attack” would have on him.
But the judge said it would be “strange” if Ravec’s experienced chairman “had not taken into account the consequences of a successful attack” and yet Ravec had still not shared Harry’s concern.
Within hours of the sentencing, a spokesman for Harry announced that he would appeal the sentence, adding that he was “not asking for preferential treatment but for a fair and legal application of Ravec’s own rules.”
It is the latest judicial blow for Harry after he admitted defeat last month in a libel case against The Mail on Sunday over articles it had published about his battle with the Home Office.
The Duke faced a £750,000 legal bill after abandoning his case just six hours before the deadline to hand over a list of documents.