LONDON-Prince Harry has lost a legal challenge seeking the right to pay for his police protection while in the UK, London’s High Court ruled on Tuesday, in a series of lawsuits the Duke of Sussex is pursuing in the country.
The duke was challenging the decision to withdraw his police protection after he stepped down as a working royal. The judge, Mr Justice Chamberlain, on Tuesday denied a legal bid by the duke to review the decision not to allow him to pay for police protection out of his own funds. A separate legal effort to review the original decision to strip him of taxpayer-funded protection is ongoing. In written submissions to the High Court, the UK’s Home Office argued that the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) “considered that it was not appropriate to support an outcome whereby wealthy individuals could ‘buy’ Protective Security from specialist police officers (potentially including armed officers), in circumstances where RAVEC has determined that the public interest does not warrant that individual receiving such Protective Security on a publicly-funded basis.” A judicial review has now been refused for this claim, Mr. Justice Chamberlain declared. This legal case is one of several ongoing lawsuits that Prince Harry is undertaking in the UK. He is expected to return to London next month to testify in a separate trial regarding phone-hacking claims against the Mirror Newspaper Group (MNG), which commenced on May 10 and is expected to last seven weeks. Earlier this month, the UK tabloid publisher apologised to the Duke of Sussex for using unlawful methods to gather information about his private life, on the first day of the trial. He and three other claimants representing dozens of celebrities are suing MNG, accusing its titles of obtaining private information by phone hacking and through other illicit means, including private investigators, between 1991 and 2011. Mirror Group Newspapers is contesting most of the allegations, arguing in its court filings that some claims have been brought too late and that in all four cases there is insufficient evidence of phone hacking. The case against the newspaper publisher is one of several lawsuits filed by Harry and his wife, Meghan, in their long-running battle with British tabloids, which they have accused of breaches of privacy and publishing false stories. Tuesday’s ruling came on the heels of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s car chase with paparazzi in New York last week, which their spokesperson alleged could have resulted in a “catastrophic” outcome.
The Sussexes were stalked by photographers after leaving the Women of Vision Awards at the city’s Ziegfeld Ballroom in a convoy that also included Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother. The couple were left shaken by the incident, although ultimately no one was hurt, their security detail told CNN. The Duke of Sussex has been vocal about the security of his family, often drawing comparisons between his wife’s treatment to that faced by his mother, Diana. The late Princess of Wales died in 1997 after suffering internal injuries resulting from a high-speed car crash in Paris.