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Why Britain Brutally Dismissed Prince Harry's Demands for Special Treatment

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

A British judge’s ruling Tuesday that Prince Harry cannot legally challenge the British government’s decision not to allow him to pay for police protection while he is in the U.K. augurs badly for his overall argument that, when in the U.K., he should be entitled to automatic, high-level police protection of the kind he had when a working royal, a legal expert said today.

The ruling will come as a fresh blow to Harry and Meghan Markle just days after they were accused of exaggerating security concerns by claiming they were the subject of a “near catastrophic” chase with paparazzi through the streets of Manhattan.

Although the ruling Tuesday does not technically end Harry’s case seeking automatic police protection for him and his family while on British soil, which Harry believes he should retain due to the “inherited risk” of his position, it is being seen by some as a signal that Harry’s entire action is going down the tubes.

Royal Friends Mock Harry and Meghan as NYC Car Chase Story Unravels

“The writing is on the wall for this case now,” Mark Stephens, a media lawyer at Howard Kennedy, told The Daily Beast, saying that he had always believed Harry was unlikely to prevail, and that he now felt more confident in that view.

Stephens said that the state’s essential argument—that it can decide who it wants to protect and to what extent, and that the police force cannot be obliged to hire itself out—had been sustained.

The British Home Office argued that were wealthy individuals, such as Harry, to be allowed to buy police protection, it would undermine public confidence in the police and detract from their core duties.

A different hearing previously found, however, that Harry could bring a case arguing his core claim that he should simply be entitled to automatic protection in Britain. That was not ruled on Tuesday, and that case is proceeding.

Tuesday’s ruling on their security provision could not have come at a worse time for Harry after the couple were widely accused of having massively exaggerated the danger they were in when they were followed by paparazzi for two hours in New York City this week.

The couple described a “relentless pursuit” by a “ring” of paparazzi and said the event was “near catastrophic” and that bystanders and police came close to being hit by the photographers’ cars.

Their comments swiftly became an object of derision after New York’s mayor, the NYPD, and a taxi driver who drove them for a few blocks when they tried to switch cars all downplayed the incident.

There was even unfounded speculation that the Sussexes may have talked up the incident in an effort to garner sympathy for their ongoing action against the Home Office.

Harry has frequently complained of being harassed by photographers in the U.K. and is understood to have brought the overall action seeking a review of the Home Office decision to strip him of security after a car he was in was followed by photographers after he attended the unveiling of a statue of his mother, Princess Diana, in 2021.

In a statement issued at the time the action became public, his spokesperson said: “Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life. He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.”

The statement added: “The U.K. will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.”

Neither Buckingham Palace nor a Sussex spokesperson would comment to The Daily Beast on today’s ruling.

Harry has multiple other lawsuits proceeding at the present time, including a libel action against the publisher of the Daily Mail which, he says, misrepresented him in an article about the action that was in court today.

He is also suing Mirror Group Newspapers and News Group Newspapers over phone hacking allegations.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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