Prince Harry in London last year. His private security guards are not permitted to carry guns in Britain.Credit...Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Prince Harry loses legal case against U.K. government over downgraded security

Prince Harry was not improperly stripped of his publicly funded security detail during visits to Britain after he gave up his status as a working member of the royal family and moved to the U.S., a London judge ruled Wednesday. Justice Peter Lane said in the High Court that the decision to provide security to Harry on a case-by-case basis was not unlawful, irrational or unjustified.

The Duke of Sussex claimed he and his family were endangered when visiting the U.K. because of hostility toward him and his wife on social media and relentless hounding by news media. His lawyer argued that the government group that evaluated Harry’s security needs acted irrationally and failed to follow its own policies that should have required a risk analysis of the duke’s safety.

A government lawyer said Harry had been treated fairly and was still provided protection on some visits, citing a security detail that guarded him in June 2021 when he was chased by photographers after attending an event with seriously ill children at Kew Gardens in west London.

The committee that made the decision to reject his security request considered the wider impact that the “tragic death” of his mother, the late Princess Diana, had on the nation, and in making its decision gave greater weight to the “likely significant public upset were a successful attack” on her son to happen, attorney James Eadie said.

Harry, 39, the younger son of King Charles III, has broken ranks with royal family tradition in his willingness to go to court to challenge both the government and take on tabloids in his effort to hold publishers accountable for hounding him throughout his life.

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