Prince Harry loses court challenge over loss of security protection

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Eve Brennan and Sophie Tanno, CNN

CNN  —  Prince Harry has lost a court challenge against a British government decision to strip him of taxpayer-funded protection after he quit royal duties.

Harry took legal action against the Home Office after it decided in February 2020 he would no longer be given the “same degree” of protection when in the country.

During a hearing in December, lawyers for Harry argued the decision meant he was “singled out” and treated “less favorably,” British news agency PA Media reported.

According to the news agency, his lawyers also cited a failure to consider the impact on the UK’s reputation of a “successful attack” on Harry, who has lived with his wife Meghan in California since July 2020 following their decision to step aside as senior royals.

But the court ruled that the decision was justified and “not marred by procedural unfairness.”

The Duke of Sussex will appeal, his legal spokesperson said.

“The Duke is not asking for preferential treatment, but for a fair and lawful application of RAVEC’s own rules, ensuring that he receives the same consideration as others in accordance with RAVEC’s own written policy,” the spokesperson told CNN, referring to the body that arranges security for the royals.

Following the ruling, a Home Office spokesperson told CNN: “We are pleased that the Court has found in favour of the Government’s position in this case, and we are carefully considering our next steps. It would be inappropriate to comment further.

“The UK Government’s protective security system is rigorous and proportionate. It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements, as doing so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals’ security.”

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.

This legal case is one of several lawsuits that Prince Harry has undertaken in the UK.

In May 2023, Harry lost a separate legal challenge seeking the right to pay for his police protection while in the UK.

The ruling was made after the UK’s Home Office argued it was not appropriate for wealthy individuals to buy protective security from specialist police officers.

In January this year, the duke dropped a libel claim he brought against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of the Mail on Sunday.

Prince Harry sued ANL for libel over a February 2022 story about the Duke’s High Court case against the UK’s Home Office concerning security arrangements when he and his family visit the country.

In December 2023, the High Court in London ruled that Harry was the victim of phone hacking and other means of “unlawful information gathering” by the publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN). The judge awarded Harry £140,600 ($177,000) in damages in the ruling.

Harry settled the remaining parts of his phone-hacking case against MGN earlier this month, with his lawyer saying he will receive a “substantial” payout.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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