Prince Harry’s lawyers say he “complained” about Queen Elizabeth II‘s staff failing to follow up on his offer to pay for his own police protection, Newsweek can reveal.
The Duke of Sussex was stripped of his Metropolitan Police bodyguards at the end of March 2020 as part of his exit as a working royal.
Since then, Harry has launched a judicial review lawsuit against the U.K. Home Office, to get his police team reinstated.
A court filing, seen by Newsweek, from his lawsuit against the U.K. newspaper The Mail on Sunday, shows Harry was unhappy with the response from courtiers including Sir Edward Young, Elizabeth’s closest aide, and Sir Michael Stevens, who is in charge of the royal family’s finances.
Harry’s lawyers wrote: “[Prince Harry] had expressed his willingness to pay for police protection at the Sandringham meeting attended by Sir Edward Young (Private Secretary to Her Majesty the Queen) amongst others, and he never resiled from (abandoned) that position at any time thereafter.
“On the contrary, prior to the issue of his judicial review proceedings he had complained about the fact that neither Sir Edward Young nor Sir Michael Stevens (Keeper of the Privy Purse) had got back to him about whether he could pay for police protection for himself and his family, despite their having said that they would do so.”
It was not clear from the filing whether Prince Harry complained to Young and Stevens directly or to others within the Royal Household or royal family.
Newsweek approached representatives of Prince Harry for comment.
The court documents show Harry took his quest for security to the heart of Britain’s government, meeting in person with Sir Mark Sedwill, one of then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s most senior policy advisers.
Sedwill was cabinet secretary at the time, but was also Britain’s national security adviser, a role described by think tank The Institute for Government as: “The central co-ordinator and adviser to the prime minister and cabinet on security, intelligence, defense, and some foreign-policy matters.”
The fact Harry took his campaign to such a senior and important figure within the U.K. government shows how important the security dispute was to him—but also how doors at the highest level of British society continued to open for him, even after he announced his decision to quit in January 2020.
The filing reads: “He also communicated his concerns to others (in particular Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary and National Security Adviser), and the offer was repeated by [Prince Harry] in a meeting he had with Sir Mark Sedwill on 3 February 2020 and was referred to in his email to Sir Edward Young of 16 April 2020.”
The filing added: “[Prince Harry] believed and hoped that his offer to pay had been and/or would be communicated to those who were responsible for the decision-making, although it became increasingly clear to him that his concerns, in particular as regards his and his family’s security, were not being given proper consideration.
“Moreover, and consistently with this belief, [Prince Harry’s] email to Sir Edward Young dated 16 April 2020, specifically referred to the offer to pay and to the fact that he was still waiting to hear back from Sir Michael Stevens and Sir Mark Sedwill in respect of it.”
The account emerged in a lawsuit that Prince Harry filed against The Mail on Sunday (MoS) over a story published by the newspaper in February 2022.
The Mail on Sunday had accused Harry of using a public statement from his legal representative to spin his lawsuit against the Home Office.
The headline read: “REVEALED: How Harry tried to keep his legal fight over bodyguards secret….then minutes after MoS broke story his PR machine tried to put positive spin on the dispute.”
The article used a Home Office court filing to argue that Harry had not made the offer to pay for his police protection to the Home Office, and that a statement released by his legal team in January 2022 was therefore misleading.
The article read: “The revelations are a crushing rebuttal to Harry’s initial public statement that implied he had always been willing to foot the bill.”
The Home Office had pointed out in a February court filing that the offer to pay had not been made in the early stages of the judicial review lawsuit.
However, the newspaper failed to mention that the statement from Harry’s legal representative had said the offer to pay was made to the royal family during a meeting at Sandringham in January 2020.
It read: “The Duke first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham. That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer.”
A recent court filing by the Mail on Sunday, also seen by Newsweek, read: “The meeting was not attended by any Government official or representative. No official present was in attendance in the capacity of a representative of RAVEC [the Home Office’s Royal and VIP Executive Committee, which made the policing decision.]
“The Claimant did not know at the time that any official of The Royal Household was a member of RAVEC nor could he have believed that he was addressing them (if in attendance) in that capacity,” the filing read.
“The written agreement which followed the Sandringham Meeting does not refer to the Family Offer or contain any mention of [Prince Harry’s] willingness to pay or contribute.”
Harry’s team’s court filing read: “It was not his choice, and it was against his wishes, that the protection that he and his family received from the Metropolitan Police was withdrawn as soon as it was, and at very short notice, with effect from 12 April 2020.”
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