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Australian royal writer Daniela Elser said the decision over the Duke of Sussex’s security in Britain does not affect 98.6 per cent of his life. She also suggested Prince Harry contradicted claims he does not feel safe in the UK as she pointed to his recent visit to Britain with his family to celebrate his beloved grandmother the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Writing for NZ Herald, she said: “Why is Harry fighting tooth and nail over a decision that does not affect 98.6 per cent of his life?
“And even when they are all in the UK, as was the case last month for the Jubilee, would the Duke have taken his family if he was not happy with the security arrangements put in place?”
The Duke of Sussex last year launched legal action against the Home Office to appeal the decision not to provide his household with the same level of protection as working royals would.
Harry is bringing legal action over a decision not to allow him to pay for police protection for himself and his family while in the UK.
Prince Harry is in an ongoing legal battle with the UK Government
Harry has previously argued he wants to bring his son Archie and daughter Lilibet to visit the UK
Harry has previously argued he wants to bring his son Archie and baby daughter Lilibet to visit from the US, but he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous, a legal representative said
But the row appeared to be temporarily put to the side when Prince Harry returned to the UK with his wife and children to celebrate his the Queen’s momentous Jubilee celebrations.
The pair largely stayed out of the spotlight, only officially attending a thanksgiving service for the Queen in their first public appearance together in Britain since sensationally quitting royal duties.
While their two young children did not appear in public, they are thought to have met the Queen for a special lunch.
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Prince Harry and Meghan returned to the UK last month
This would have been the first time the monarch met her great-granddaughter, Lilibet Diana.
During a hearing in London on Thursday, Harry’s lawyers asked Mr Justice Swift to grant permission for a full judicial review of the Home Office’s decision.
The Duke is challenging the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) – which falls under the remit of the Home Office – over his security, after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting.
Harry’s legal team are seeking to argue that the security arrangements set out in a letter from Ravec, and their application when he visited the UK in June 2021, were invalid due to “procedural unfairness” because he was not given an opportunity to make “informed representations beforehand”.
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Prince Harry wants a review of the Home Office decision
Shaeed Fatima QC, for the duke, told the court: “He didn’t know at that stage that the Royal Household was involved at all … he was told it was an independent decision.”
She also revealed there were “significant tensions” between Harry and the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Edward Young, at that time.
In written arguments, Ms Fatima said Harry was not given a “clear and full explanation” of the composition of Ravec and those involved in its decision-making – for example, that it included the Royal Household.
She also said his understanding was that his points regarding security, which he passed on to the Royal Household, were being “fully and properly communicated to Ravec”.
Ms Fatima said he was denied the opportunity to make representations directly to Ravec and was “materially prejudiced” because “among other things, his offer to pay (for security) was not conveyed to Ravec before the decision was made”.
She added: “He does not know what else – as communicated by him to the Royal Household – was not fully/timeously conveyed to Ravec.
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“He was deprived of the opportunity to comment on the appropriateness of Ravec’s process (and) the involvement of certain individuals in the Ravec process prior to the decision being made.
“It is arguable that, if there had been a fair process, Ravec would or could have reached a different decision.”
Lawyers for the Home Office say Ravec was entitled to reach the decision it did, which is that the duke’s security arrangements will be considered on a “case by case” basis, and argue that permission for a full judicial review should be refused.
Sir James Eadie QC, representing the Home Office, said in written arguments that any tensions between Harry and Royal Household officials are “irrelevant” to his change in status.
Prince Harry and Meghan celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
He said: “In his skeleton, the claimant now refers to objections he might have made to any role being played by officials of the Royal Household in Ravec’s decision-making – apparently because of personal tensions he felt with them.
“But there is no bias challenge and any such tensions are irrelevant to the undisputed fact of the claimant’s change in status which led to the decision of Ravec.
“The inability of the claimant even now to explain how a process of representations could or would have assisted is striking.”
Sir James also said there is “no basis for the court to conclude that it would be anything other than highly likely” that allowing Harry to make representations to Ravec before the decision was made “would not have led to that decision being substantially different, or even at all different”.