Prince Harry claims he and wife Meghan Markle felt “forced” to leave their roles as senior working members of the British royal family in the latest bombshell during testimony in his security case against the U.K.’s Home Office.
“It was with great sadness to both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020,” Harry, 39, said in a court statement during a hearing on Thursday, December 7, according to ITV.
“The U.K. is my home. The U.K. is central to the heritage of my children and a place I want them to feel at home as much as where they live at the moment in the United States. That cannot happen if there is no possibility to keep them safe when they are on U.K. soil,” he continued, adding, “I can’t put my wife in danger like that, and given my experiences in life, I’m reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm’s way too.”
The Duke of Sussex’s lawyer, Shaheed Fatima KC, said Harry did not feel he had a “choice” to stop being a ‘full-time working member of the royal family.”
Harry has been battling the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) to remove his automatic right to Metropolitan Police security in February 2020, one month after he and Meghan announced their decision to step down as senior working royals.
While the prince and his family still receive full protection while in the country attending royal events, he no longer has taxpayer funded security for anything involving endeavors outside of royal life.
Harry and Meghan announced on January 8, 2020, that they were seeking out a new life in a post on their Sussex Royal Instagram page.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen,” they wrote, noting they would split their time between the U.K. and North America. The couple had spent six weeks living outside Vancouver, Canada, before making the announcement.
During the infamous “Sandringham Summit,” Queen Elizabeth II rejected the couple’s half-in, half-out plan for royal life. Instead, they were given one year period of transition in which to change their minds.
On January 13, 2020, the queen released a statement saying, “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
In the year that followed, Harry and Meghan moved into a $14 million mansion in Montecito, California, and signed lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify. They began paying for their own security team while in the United States.
After their year passed and the couple did not return to royal duties, they were removed from their patronages and no longer allowed to use the “HRH” styling, although they were not formally stripped of the titles.
The duke has returned to the U.K. on several occasions, including the funeral of his grandmother and his father, King Charles III’s coronation in May, where he was given full security protection. Harry is arguing that he needs the same security any time he is on British soil.
Harry’s lawyer said that his security risk “arises from his birth and ongoing status, as the son of HM the King,” adding, “The claimant’s consistent position has been — and remains — that he should be given state security in light of the threats/risks he faces.'”
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The duke’s offer to pay for his own Metropolitan Police provided security was already shot down on appeal in May, with the judge stating Harry’s desired services were “different in kind from the police services provided at (for example) sporting or entertainment events, because they involve the deployment of highly trained specialist officers, of whom there are a limited number, and who are required to put themselves in harm’s way to protect their principals.”
A judge will rule on Harry’s current security case at a later date.
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