Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could now not visit Britain for Prince Philip‘s service of thanksgiving in the coming months if their legal battle over his family’s security in the UK remains unresolved, it has been claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been expected to attend the memorial event at Westminster Abbey which was announced by the Queen on December 23 and is due to take place on an unconfirmed date this spring.
It was hoped that Harry and Meghan, who now live in California, would finally introduce their seven-month-old daughter Lilibet to the Royal Family, who would also have a rare opportunity to see their two-year-old son Archie.
But the dispute with the UK Government could now scupper these plans, with Harry threatening a judicial review of a Home Office decision not to allow him to pay for police protection for him and his family while in Britain.
A royal source told US celebrity news website Page Six last night: ‘If Harry goes, he will want to have security for him and his family. If and when he decides to go back to the UK, he needs security.’ MailOnline contacted representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for comment this morning.
A judicial review challenges the lawfulness of a public body’s decision and must first pass a ‘threshold test’. Now Harry has filed his claims, the Home Office must file a document on why they will be resisting it. The High Court will then consider whether there is a case for judicial review – and a proper hearing will take place if granted.
The bill for the process will almost certainly run into the tens of thousands of pounds, with each party in a case at a one-day substantive hearing likely to face legal costs of at least £25,000 to £40,000 and possibly even more. The Home Office has previously given the cost on the Government of a substantive hearing as up to £100,000.
Meghan has not returned to Britain since the couple officially stepped down as senior royals in March 2020 – and did not accompany Harry to his late grandfather’s funeral last April because she was heavily pregnant at the time.
They have not yet said whether they will be among the congregation at the service, which will feature family, friends, dignitaries and representatives of many charities and organisations with which Philip was associated.
But it was widely believed that they would attend and have the chance to reconnect with senior royals including Harry’s grandmother the Queen, father Prince Charles, brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate Middleton.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are accompanied by security personnel in October 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand
The Queen and Prince Philip are pictured in June 2014. The Duke of Edinburgh died in Windsor on April 9 last year aged 99
The memorial service will take place at Westminster Abbey in London in spring this year on a date which is to be confirmed
Harry does not carry out any engagements since officially quitting the royal family almost two years ago, but has demanded the Metropolitan Police provide him security on the occasions he and his family return home.
Those visits would be for social and business reasons, or to undertake private charitable commitments. He has offered to reimburse the costs himself.
‘Police guard for Harry? Anne doesn’t get one… and she was nearly kidnapped!’
Prince Harry should learn from his aunt Princess Anne, who gets police security only when on royal duties, an expert said this week.
Harry, who now carries out no royal engagements, has threatened legal action unless he gets Met Police security, which he would pay for, when he is back in the UK from California.
Ex-royal protection chief Dai Davies (pictured) said Princess Anne ‘doesn’t get full time protection now and yet in 1974 she was nearly kidnapped – her protection officer was actually shot’.
The ex-chief superintendent added: ‘Her security is now adapted according to risk. There just isn’t a large pool of officers to pick and choose from.’
Of Harry and wife Meghan he said: ‘They both have such egos that they expect the treatment. The fact is, many senior royals are losing their protection. They’re not going to take officers away from other royals or other duties to protect him.’
Harry was last in the country in July 2021 when he attended the unveiling of a statue for his late mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace.
Meghan has not been in the UK since March 2020, and their son Archie last saw his family as a babe in arms in November 2019.
Their daughter Lilibet, who will turn one in June, has never visited her father’s home country or met her great-grandmother or grandfather.
Harry is now seeking a judicial review of the decision to strip him of his UK police protection team, claiming it is ‘too dangerous’ to visit without Scotland Yard bodyguards.
Lawyers acting for Harry have written a ‘pre-action protocol’ letter to the Home Office, threatening to go to the High Court if his family are not provided with security while they are in Britain.
In a statement the unnamed spokesman said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex personally fund a private security team for their family, yet that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the U.K.
‘In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home,’ it said. ‘The UK will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.’
A Government spokesman said the UK’s security system was ‘rigorous and proportionate’ and that it was long-standing policy not to provide detailed information about such arrangements
It is also unprecedented for the judiciary to get involved in matters of royal protection, which are signed off by an independent committee and the Home Secretary.
Royal insiders have also made clear there is no backing for the prince at Buckingham Palace. A palace spokesman said it was a matter ‘for the Home Office and the Sussexes.’
Earlier this week, a security expert warned Harry should learn from his no-nonsense aunt, Princess Anne, who does not get full-time police protection despite surviving a kidnap attempt in which her bodyguard was shot.
The Queen’s daughter is understood only to get armed Metropolitan Police bodyguards when she is out and about undertaking official duties on behalf of the monarch.
Harry and Meghan’s family Christmas card released last month featuring pictures of their children Archie and Lilibet
Prince Harry was last in Britain in July last year for the unveiling of a statue of his late mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Harry attended the event with his brother Prince William
Meghan has not been in the UK since March 2020, when she and Harry attended their last events as senior royals. The Sussexes are pictured attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9 that year
The former head of Scotland Yard’s royalty protection department, retired Chief Superintendent Dai Davies, said that the prince should ‘do his homework’ and study what arrangements are in place for other family members.
Special Jubilee medal awarded to Prince Harry, Meghan and Andrew
Prince Harry, Meghan and Prince Andrew are set to be awarded special Platinum Jubilee medals by the Queen next month.
The commemorative medals are also being presented to frontline staff at the police, fire and emergency services who have completed five years’ service, as a token of thanks. Members of the royal household with one year of qualifying service will receive medals too.
But as with previous jubilees, the Queen will pay privately for medals to be given to members of her ‘wider’ family, both working and non-working. And this year the non-working number will include Andrew, Harry and Meghan. The Duke of York was forced to relinquish his remaining royal roles and stop using his HRH title last week as he faces his US sex case as a ‘private citizen’.
Harry and Meghan, who quit as working royals and moved to the US in pursuit of lucrative commercial careers while repeatedly criticising the Royal Family, will also be awarded medals as a matter of course.
A royal source said: ‘In common with previous jubilees, it is likely that wider members of the Royal Family would receive the Platinum Jubilee medal… they are funded privately and are commemorative.’
It is understood that Andrew, Harry and Meghan would be entitled to wear their medals with ‘civilian dress’ if they are invited to an event where the dress code says ‘decorations’.
But the Queen may not be able to award Harry and Meghan’s medals in person. Harry is threatening to seek a judicial review of a Home Office decision not to allow him to pay for police protection while in Britain.
Without this security, he feels unable to travel to the UK, a spokesman said. The medals will also go to frontline prison and Armed Forces staff, as well as living individual recipients of the George and Victoria Cross.
‘Princess Anne, we understand, doesn’t get full time protection now and yet in 1974 she was nearly kidnapped and worse. Her protection officer was actually shot,’ he said.
‘And yet her security is now adapted according to risk. There just isn’t a large pool of officers to pick and chose from.’
Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, both high profile individuals, do not receive any police protection in their day to day lives, although they now live on Princess Anne’s private Gatcombe Park estate.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex – the Queen’s son, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie – and are also believed to have dispensed with round-the-clock protection.
And Harry’s cousins, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, were also stripped of their police bodyguards when they decided to pursue independent lives and careers outside of the royal family, following extensive public debate over why taxpayers should foot the bill for their globe-trotting lifestyles.
Prince Andrew now employs private security guards for his daughters, often retired police officers.
There will be ongoing public debate as to whether he is entitled to security now that he has stepped back from public life to fight his US sex case as a ‘private citizen’ and handed back any remaining royal roles.
Anne was attacked in 1974 as she drove down The Mall with her then husband, Captain Mark Phillips.
Ian Ball forced her limo to stop, shot her bodyguard, Inspector James Beaton, multiple times as he tried to protect the royal couple, before trying to pull the Princess out of the car.
Another police officer and a journalist were shot before Ball was tackled by a passer-by.
Anne famously replied ‘not bl**dy likely’ as he tried to pull her out of the car and escaped out of the other rear door
Mr Davies, who has worked in policing and security for more than 53 years, said: ‘He [Prince Harry] decided that he didn’t want to be part of the Royal Family, he made some dreadful remarks in that interview [with Oprah Winfrey] and his behaviour since has been, in my opinion, disgraceful, along with his good wife.
‘If they want to be royals and they want to carry on doing royal business, then, yes, there is a risk.
‘But over the years royalty protection and the Home Office…have got reasonably good at making sure that the risk assessment is carried out throughly, in conjunction with the other security agents dictated [by the] threat assessment centre.
Pallbearers carry Prince Philip’s coffin for his funeral service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on April 17
Cutting a solitary figure at the front of the quire, near the altar, the Queen sat apart from her children at the funeral last April
‘They [Harry and Meghan] both have such egos that they expect the treatment.
Meghan and Harry will turn down Prince Charles’ invitation to stay with him in the UK so he can meet Lilibet because it would be ‘awkward’ after row over security, Queen’s biographer claims
The Prince of Wales, 73, offered to have his family to stay with him in the UK in the hope of meeting Lilibet for the first time, a source claimed this week.
The offer, which would be the first time the family have fully come together since Harry and Meghan moved to the US, was made just before Christmas, according to the Mirror. However, royal biographer Angela Levin has claimed the couple won’t stay with Charles because it would be ‘too awkward’.
She told the Sun: ‘Of course when you are married your partner has a say in it all and I don’t believe Meghan ever wants to come back here. She would find it very difficult to stay with Prince Charles and the Duchess [of Cornwall] because I think she would be quite awkward about it all.’
She added: ‘I think Charles is very brave, very honourable and it should really be Harry that apologises to him and try to get back in his good books but I think this looks as though it’s the other way round’
‘The fact is, many senior royals are losing their protection. Once you become a plain member of the public like the rest of us, unless there is a serious risk, neither the police nor Scotland Yard will take action.
‘At the moment, it is considered that there isn’t a risk, and so they’re not doing to take officers away from other royals or other duties to protect him when he decides to be royal again. ‘
Nine months ago on April 17, Britain fell silent in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh as a funeral marking his life of service, devotion and duty took place at Windsor Castle.
The Queen and her family gathered to say farewell to Philip, who died peacefully and was hailed as the ‘grandfather’ of the country by his son Andrew.
Covid-19 regulations reduced the scope of the service with public elements cancelled, mourners reduced from around 800 to just 30.
All guests wore face masks and sat apart, and the UK came to a halt to observe a minute’s silence for the Duke who died a few months short of his 100th birthday.
Charles and Anne led senior royals in walking behind their father’s coffin for the short distance from the castle to St George’s Chapel.
Philip’s coffin was carried on a custom-built Land Rover Defender hearse designed by the duke and modified over 16 years.
It was followed for part of its final journey by the Queen, who travelled in a Bentley with Lady Susan Hussey, her trusted lady-in-waiting – with both wearing facemasks.
Watching as it passed were royal mourners including the Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex and her children James and Louise.
Zara and Mike Tindall, Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank were also in attendance.
The Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge joined the procession, separated by their cousin Peter Phillips. They were seated opposite one another in the chapel.
Cutting a solitary figure at the front of the quire, near the altar, the Queen sat apart from her children. There was a space left beside her where Philip would have sat.