Prince Harry on Tuesday lost a bid to legally challenge the British government’s decision not to allow him to pay for police protection while he is in the United Kingdom.
The prince, younger son of King Charles, was stripped of the police security usually afforded to royal figures in the United Kingdom after he and his wife, Meghan, stepped down from their official roles in 2020 to move to the United States.
The High Court in London, which last year already agreed he should be allowed to challenge the original decision to end his protection, ruled on Tuesday he could not also seek a further judicial review over the refusal of his offer to pay privately for the highly trained officers.
The decision to remove publicly funded security was taken by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC), which approves security for the royals and VIPs, such as the prime minister.
Last week, lawyers for the prince had argued RAVEC did not have the power to reject his funding offer, and even if it did have such authority, it was wrong not to consider an exception or hear representations on his behalf.
However, lawyers for the police and the government said it would be wrong to allow the fifth-in-line to the throne to pay for the protection as it would mean wealthy individuals being able to “buy” specially trained officers as private bodyguards.
They argued that it would be wrong for an individual to pay for such officers, who are required to put themselves in harm’s way, if the committee had already considered it was not in the public’s or the state’s interest.
It was very different to paying for policing for a soccer match, a marathon, or even a celebrity's wedding, they said.
In his written ruling, Judge Martin Chamberlain rejected Harry’s case, concluding (RAVEC) had not been wrong to decide that allowing payment for protective security was against the public interest.
His ruling comes less than a week after the prince’s spokesperson said the prince, his wife Meghan and her mother were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase with press photographers after an awards ceremony in New York.
The prince has spoken out about his fears for the safety of his family and regularly criticised press intrusion which he blames for the death of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed when her limousine crashed as it sped away from chasing paparazzi in Paris in 1997. – Reuters