Prince Harry lost a legal challenge to his petition to pay for police protection in Britain on Tuesday, days after he and his wife, Meghan, were caught in a very controversial confrontation with photographers in New York.
In the case, the High Court in London dismissed Harry’s application for judicial review of a Home Office decision to reject his claim for private payment for Metropolitan Police protection when he and his family travel in Great Britain. Lawyers for the Home Office argued that it was in fact inappropriate for police officers to be hired as private security guards.
Lawyers for Harry, also known as the Duke of Sussex, had argued that he and his family needed that level of protection when coming from the United States, where he now lives, and the prince was ready to pay for it. poached.
Harry lost his automatic police protection when he and Meghan retired from their duties as working members of the Royal Family in 2020.
The decision is a setback for Harry at a time when his safety is under intense scrutiny. Last week he and Meghan, along with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, were swarmed by photographers after leaving an awards show in Midtown Manhattan. What happened after that is the subject of widely conflicting accounts.
A spokeswoman for the couple described “an almost catastrophic car chase at the hands of a circle of very aggressive paparazzi”. But a taxi driver who briefly transported the three said there was no car chase and there was no reason for his passengers to be scared, although he acknowledged that they seemed to have been alarmed.
A New York Police Department spokesperson said the photographers posed a challenge, but added the three arrived at their Upper East Side destination with no “reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests”.
Traveling to Britain poses a particular security challenge for Harry and Meghan as their private security guards are not permitted to carry arms.
As an active royal, the prince said he has never traveled without three armed bodyguards. During negotiations with Palace officials over his new status, Harry wrote in his memoir, “Spare”, he pleaded for the bodyguards to be left in place, even if he lost all other royal benefits.
“I offered to cover the cost of security out of my own pocket,” he wrote. “I didn’t know how I would do this, but I would find a way.”