What Prince Harry’s court case reveals about ‘Megxit’ tensions at Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in London – AFP / Matt Dunham

The Duke of Sussex has argued that the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Edward Young, should not have been involved in the decision to deny him police protection in the UK due to “significant tensions” between them.

Prince Harry’s Shaheed Fatima QC told the High Court that he was not aware that members of the royal household were involved in the decision.

She said it was “inappropriate” for them to have a say in the matter, complaining that the duke had been told that the committee responsible for the Home Office was “independent”.

The barrister suggested that the Duke’s concerns and requests regarding his safety, including an offer of payment, which had been made to Sir Edward and others at the palace, were not “fully communicated” to the committee.

Prince Harry is seeking a judicial review of the decision to deny him and his family automatic security whenever they return to British soil.

The decision was made by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (known as Ravec) in February 2020, shortly after he announced that he would no longer be an active member of the royal family and move abroad.

It acknowledges that the Duke occupies a “particular and unusual position” and that he may need protective security in certain circumstances, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

‘Clear and complete explanation’

The Duke has argued that he inherited the risk at birth and as such he, his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and their children Archie, two, and Lilibet, one, should be given permanent protection in the UK. regardless of your situation. their status as non-working royals.

On Thursday, he filed a request for a second judicial review regarding his offer to pay for the protection, which he argued should have prompted the Home Office to “annul and retake” its decision.

It states that the offer was made to the palace in both January and April 2020, but was not passed on to the committee.

Government lawyers agree that no such offer was passed on, but insist that it would have been rejected as a matter of principle.

Sir James Eadie QC of the Home Office said the duke “should not be allowed to simply demand security” because he could pay the police.

It was learned at court that at the time the decision was made, Sir Edward, as well as the Queen’s Deputy Private Secretary and Prince Charles’s Master of the Household, were all part of the committee.

Mrs Fatima told the court that Prince Harry should have been given a “clear and full explanation” of Ravec’s makeup and those involved in his decision-making, including members of the Royal Household.

She said it was “procedurally unfair” that the duke had been “deprived of the opportunity” to make direct representations to the committee, including about whether it was appropriate for certain people to be involved.

She insisted that she was not claiming bad faith or bias.

‘Very significant load’

But the lawyer told Judge Swift that, specifically, the Duke did not think Sir Edward should have been involved.

“There were significant tensions between the applicant and Sir Edward Young,” it said.

The judge responded: “That’s a pretty bold presentation to make.”

The reveal points to the volatile atmosphere behind the scenes in the palace about “Megxit.”

Ms. Fatima also argued that government policy allowed state security to be provided to everyone in the “immediate line of succession.” She said it had been applied in a “too rigid” way as the duke, who is sixth in line to the throne, had been excluded from that scope.

Sir James said the duke’s claim that he was entitled to permanent security regardless of his status within the royal family was “fundamentally inconsistent” with the committee’s position.

“The plaintiff’s point of view is clearly not the only rational point of view,” he said.

Sir James said any personal tension between Harry and the Royal House was “irrelevant” and suggested any representation he might have made to the committee was unlikely to have had an impact.

In written submissions, he warned that by bringing the case, the duke had imposed “a very significant burden” on the public purse.

The judge reserved his decision, which is expected to be issued within a few weeks.

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