The Duke of Sussex has argued that “significant tensions” between himself and the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Edward Young, meant he should not have been involved in the Government’s decision to deny him and his family police protection in the UK.
Shaheed Fatima QC, for Prince Harry, told the High Court that it was not “appropriate” for Sir Edward or senior members of the Royal Household to have had any say on the matter, complaining that the Duke had been told the Home Office committee was “independent.”
She suggested that the Duke’s concerns and requests regarding his security – including an offer to pay – which had been made to Sir Edward and others, were not “fully communicated” to the committee.
Prince Harry is seeking a judicial review of the decision to deny him and his family automatic security whenever they step back onto UK soil and instead review it on a case by case basis.
He is challenging the “unlawful” decision made by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (known as Ravec) in February 2020, shortly after he announced he was stepping back as a working member of the Royal Family and moving abroad.
The Duke on Thursday lodged an application for a second judicial review concerning his offer to pay for protection, which Government lawyers have dismissed as “irrelevant”.
Sir James Eadie, for the Home Office, said he did not accept there was anything unlawful about the decision, adding that an individual “should not be permitted to simply demand security” because they could afford to pay the police.
It emerged in court that at the time the decision was made, Sir Edward, as well as the Queen’s assistant private secretary and the Master of Prince Charles’s household, all sat on the committee.
Ms Fatima told the court that Prince Harry should have been given a “clear and full explanation” of the composition of Ravec “and those involved in its decision making, i.e. that this included the Royal Household”.
She said he had been “deprived of the opportunity” to make “direct representations” to members and had not been informed about its policy and how it was applied.
Ms Fatima added in written submissions that he should also have been given the opportunity to make any other points he wished “such as whether it was appropriate for the Royal Household/certain individuals to be involved in making the decision”.
She insisted in court: “We have not alleged bias, we have not alleged bad faith.”
The barrister told Mr Justice Swift that specifically, the Duke did not believe Sir Edward should have been involved.
“There were significant tensions between the claimant and Sir Edward Young,” she said.
The judge replied: “That is quite a bold submission to make.”
The revelation points to the volatile atmosphere behind the scenes at the palace over “Megxit”.
Ms Fatima argued that Government policy allowed for state security to be provided to all within the “immediate line of succession” but that in this case, it had been applied in an “overly rigid” manner as the Duke, who is sixth in line to the throne, had been excluded from that scope.
Sir James said the Duke’s claim that he was entitled to permanent security regardless of his role within the Royal Family was “fundamentally inconsistent” with its decision.
He said the Duke had also had plenty of time to complain of “procedural unfairness” after the decision was made in February 2020, suggesting there was “no good reason” for seeking to introduce it this year.
“The claimant’s view as to what his status and circumstances require by way of protective security following his stepping back from official duties was and is not shared by Ravec,” he said.
“The claimant’s view is plainly not the only rational view.”
The judge reserved his decision, which is expected to be handed down within weeks.
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