LONDON— A judge in London dismissed Prince Harry’s attempt to privately fund his own security detail on Tuesday, rejecting his request to challenge the U.K. government through legal means.
Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their royal roles and relocate to California in 2020, the British government ceased providing security for them.
Despite Prince Harry’s offer to personally cover the expenses for his security during visits to the UK, the government declined the offer.
During the court proceedings, a lawyer representing the British government argued against Prince Harry’s request, stating that it would not be appropriate to hire police officers as private bodyguards for wealthy individuals.
Justice Martin Chamberlain ruled that the government’s reasoning to reject Prince Harry’s request to hire police bodyguards at his own expense was logical and coherent. He highlighted the distinction between providing private protection for an individual and employing police officers for security purposes at events such as sports games.
Additionally, Justice Martin Chamberlain expressed concerns that granting Prince Harry’s request could place strain on police resources, establish a precedent for similar cases, and be perceived as unfair to other individuals in need of police protection.
“If privately funded protective security were permitted, a less wealthy individual would feel unfairly treated, the availability of a limited specialist resource would be reduced and a precedent would have been set which it would be difficult to contain,” Chamberlain wrote.
Harry expressed concerns about the safety of bringing his young children to Britain due to aggressive photographers who pursued him after an event in 2021.
Last week, Harry and Meghan sought refuge from paparazzi in a New York police station on the same day they were involved in a dangerous car chase with photographers following a gala event.
No one was injured and no citations given, but police said photographers made it challenging for the couple to get where they were going.
The couple have said they fund their own security. Former President Donald Trump said the U.S. government wouldn’t pay to protect them.
While Harry lost the case to pay police to protect him in the U.K., he could end up with a bigger prize. Another judge allowed his case to proceed challenging the decision to deny him government-paid security.
The prince has four other active legal cases in London courts, all of them against British tabloid publishers over allegations of phone hacking or libel.
Harry is due to testify next month in an ongoing trial against the publisher of the Daily Mirror over allegations it used illegal means to gather material for dozens of articles about the duke, dating back as far as the 1990s.
Judges are currently weighing whether two other phone hacking cases can go to trial against the publishers of the Daily Mail and The Sun.
Lawyers for the newspapers have argued the claims were brought well beyond a six-year time limit. Harry’s lawyer has argued that an exception should be granted because the publishers were deceptive about the hacking and other unlawful information gathering so he couldn’t discover it soon enough.
A judge is also considering whether to toss out Harry’s libel lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday over an article alleging he tried to hush up his challenge to pay for police security.
The newspaper has claimed it was expressing an “honest opinion,” but a judge in a preliminary ruling found it defamatory.