Prince Harry’s bid to pay for his own police protection when he and his family members are on British soil may be a costly affair for UK taxpayers. The Duke of Sussex saw his request to challenge the UK Government in court over his security thrown out by a High Court judge in mid-May.
The bid launched by the California-based royal cost £502,326 to defend, newly released figures show.
While it was previously thought the Duke may be asked to cover the whole cost himself, a Freedom of Information request shows taxpayers are left out of pocket by £492,000.
This means, a report by The Sun claimed, Harry only has to return less than £10,000 in court costs.
The Home Office, the publication added citing sources, can’t get back the costs due to an unspecified loophole.
Prince Harry reportedly intends to try and overturn the verdict later this year, the news outlet continued, which could add to the cost a further £500,000. This brings the total spent to just shy of a million pounds.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down as full-time working members of the Royal Family in the spring of 2020.
As recounted by Harry in his memoir titled Spare, in March that year he was informed his family would be stripped of taxpayer-funded security.
After receiving the help of friend and US producer Tyler Perry, who offered his own security detail to the Sussexes, Meghan and Prince Harry secured a series of profitable deals that made it possible to pay for their own protection while in the US.
However, the private security the Sussexes have in the US “cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK”, representatives for Meghan and Harry said in a statement in January 2022.
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But the Duke’s bid to pay for police protection whenever he travels to Britain was not welcomed by the Home Office and the High Court refused the prince permission to apply for the judicial review of the rejection of his payment offer.
A lawyer for the Government argued in court that it was not appropriate to allow hiring “police officers as private bodyguards for the wealthy”.
Justice Martin Chamberlain said there was nothing “incoherent or illogical” in the Government’s reasoning to deny Harry’s request to hire police bodyguards at his own expense.
He said providing private protection for an individual was different from paying police as security at sporting and other events.
This could also strain police resources, as well as set a precedent “which it would be difficult to contain” and be seen as unfair.