How Prince Harry's Security Lawsuit Could Get More Awkward for the Royals

Prince Harry's latest salvo in his lawsuit against the British government could cut close to the bone for a former aide to his brother Prince William.

The Duke of Sussex is suing the Home Office over a decision to remove his police security when he is in Britain.

The decision dates back to 2020, when he quit royal duties, and was made by the RAVEC (Royal and VIP Executive Committee), which counts the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office and the royal household among its membership.

However, Shaheed Fatima QC, Harry's lawyer, told London's High Court during a hearing on February 25 that the prince wants to know more about the committee's make-up.

According to the Press Association, she said: "We've been asking about the membership."

She added that the inquiry was related to "the relevance of the claimant's knowledge about who he was dealing with and in what capacity."

Fatima revealed that the duke has established that the government's Cabinet Office is a member of the RAVEC and pointed out that Harry had "correspondence" with its former head, Sir Mark Sedwill.

The revelation is significant because Sedwill's successor in the role of cabinet secretary—Britain's most senior civil servant—is Simon Case, who was formerly Prince William's private secretary.

The office exists to support the prime minister and his cabinet. It is currently led by Case, who was poached by Boris Johnson in September 2020. It is not clear whether Case has had any direct involvement in the RAVEC.

The current arrangements for Harry's security date back to the weeks after the announcement of his royal exit at the start of 2020, when Case was still working at Kensington Palace. However, there has also been tension over decisions taken since.

Home Office court filings reveal that the set-up gives Harry "exceptional status" through which he can sometimes be given police protection, depending on the reason for his visit.

He was given a security detail when he returned to Britain for Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021, but not when he unveiled a statue of Princess Diana alongside William at Kensington Palace, on July 1, 2021.

On that visit, his vehicle was chased by photographers, leading the prince to begin the steps that led to his lawsuit.

Whether Case had any direct involvement or not, the royal household is on the committee and Harry's lawyers appear keen to find out more about who is involved.

Government lawyers have given a scathing assessment of Harry's chances of winning the lawsuit, however.

A court filing from Robert Palmer QC, seen by Newsweek, read: "[The Home Office] makes clear that the grant of permission will be opposed and that it will be submitted that the claim is unarguable and unmeritorious."

The government argues that the lawsuit was filed too late as the original decision was taken on February 28, 2020, and has warned that it will seek costs from the prince.

The filing read: "[Prince Harry] has failed to afford the necessary measure of respect to [the Home Office] and RAVEC as the expert, and democratically accountable, decision-maker on matters of protective security and associated risk assessment."

It added: "Personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis and RAVEC does not make decisions on the provision of such security on the basis that any financial contribution could be sought or obtained to pay for it.

"RAVEC has in fact attributed to the claimant a sort of exceptional status whereby he is considered for personal protective security by the police, with the precise arrangements being dependent on the reason for his presence in Great Britain and by reference to the functions he carries out when present."

A legal representative for Prince Harry said in a January statement to Newsweek: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex personally fund a private security team for their family, yet that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK.

"In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home."

A government spokesperson told Newsweek: "The UK government's protective security system is rigorous and proportionate. It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements, as doing so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals' security.

"It would not be appropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

Update 03/02/22, 12:10 p.m. ET: This article was updated to add a statement from a U.K. government spokesman.

Prince Harry Visits Belfast
Prince Harry, seen visiting Northern Ireland on March 23, 2018, is suing the U.K. government over his police security. His lawyers want to find out more about membership of a committee that made the decision to remove his protection. Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage