Britain 'always' Prince Harry's home, security case hears

Harry (above) and wife Meghan lost their UK taxpayer-paid protection when they quit front-line royal duties and moved to California.

LONDON (AFP) - A lawyer for Prince Harry told a London court on Friday (Feb 18) that Britain "will always be his home", appealing a government refusal to provide the British royal with police protection even if he pays for it.

Harry and wife Meghan lost their UK taxpayer-paid protection when they quit front-line royal duties in 2020 and moved to California.

The Duke of Sussex, who was not in court, is seeking a judicial review after the interior ministry declined his request to pay himself for British police protection.

The couple have their own private security team in the US but Harry says that they do not have adequate jurisdiction or access to British intelligence necessary to keep his family safe.

"This claim is about the fact that the claimant does not feel safe when he is in the UK," Harry's lawyer Shaheed Fatima told the Royal Courts of Justice.

"It goes without saying that he does want 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."

Last summer, Harry's car was chased by paparazzi photographers as he left a charity event in London. The next day, he and elder brother William unveiled a statue of their late mother, Princess Diana.

She died in Paris in 1997 after a high-speed car chase also involving photographers, and Harry's relations with the British media remain fraught.

The Home Office's lawyer Robert Palmer dismissed Harry's offer to pay for police protection as "irrelevant".

"Personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis," Palmer said in a written submission.

Instead, the government's "Royal and VIP Executive Committee" (RAVEC) decides on whether to provide Harry with police protection depending on the reason for his presence in Britain.

"A case-by-case approach rationally and appropriately allows RAVEC to implement a responsive approach to reflect the applicable circumstances," Palmer said.

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