Prince Harry’s long-running legal battle against the Home Office’s decision to cut his police protection in the UK has cost taxpayers more than £235,600 so far.
The bill has more than doubled in the space of six months as the Duke of Sussex’s challenge to the Government’s cuts to his safety features continues.
The Duke and his wife Meghan Markle stepped back from royal duties in early 2020 as they moved to Montecito, California.
The move, dubbed ‘Megxit’, was followed by the Home Office ruling that he would not have the ‘same degree’ of personal protection, despite the Duke offering to pay for it himself. Government lawyers said his offer was ‘irrelevant’ to the way officials made decisions about the security of the royal family.
The former UK counter-terrorism official shed new light on the prince’s defiance this week when he said Meghan had faced credible threats to his life while the couple were living in the UK.
Neil Basu, speaking as he left his post as deputy commissioner of the Met, described the plots as “very real” and said they had been investigated by teams from Scotland Yard.
The prince has previously said through his legal team that he “inherited a security threat at birth”, with his young family subject to “well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats”.
The total cost to the Home Office up to November 10 is £235,604.39, according to information released after a Freedom of Information Act request by Metro.co.uk.
The amount has more than doubled since a running total of £90,000 was disclosed in July 2022.
The majority of the bill is accounted for in government legal service fees, which amounted to £154,004.64, followed by lawyers’ payments of £80,599.20, according to the dataset.
The bill breaks down into legal costs of £660, a courier bill of £16.55 and an electronic disclosure cost of £324.
The prince, 38, said his own private security team lacked the proper overseas expertise, which would include access to local intelligence and operate within the legal framework of law enforcement.
He filed a complaint against the Home Office’s refusal with the High Court in September 2021 and won judicial review, which involves examining the legitimacy of a public body’s decision.
The recusal was granted on several grounds but not all of those sought by the prince’s legal team, the published judgment shows.
The request was allowed to proceed on the grounds that he should have been informed of the security policy before the denial was issued and that he should have been given the opportunity to present his case to the decision-making body of the Executive Committee royal and VIP (Ravec).
A legal representative for Prince Harry said he wanted to ‘challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, in the hope that this can be reassessed for the obvious and necessary protection required’.
The app follows a security incident in July 2021 when the Duke’s car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event at Kew Gardens.
His legal team said his “safety was compromised due to the lack of police protection”.
Decisions on the protective security of the royal family and key public figures are made by Ravec, which is managed by the Home Office. Its members include the department, the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Household, who work together to advise an independent chairman in decision-making.
The bill does not reflect Home Office officials’ time, as the ministry said in the response that it was “not possible to quantify” the amount.
The Duke and Duchess are said to have privately funded security arrangements in the United States, where they live with their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, one.
Meghan, 41, was the target of “disgusting and very real” death threats when the couple were living in the UK, according to Mr Basu.
Asked on Channel 4 News if his life had been in danger, he replied: “Absolutely”. We had teams investigating. People have been prosecuted for these threats.
In the interview released on Wednesday, the former head of royal protection said the Duchess had been targeted by the far right and anyone subjected to the “rhetoric” posted online would “feel threatened all the time”.
In January, the Duke’s legal team said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are personally funding a private security team for their family, but this security cannot replicate the police protection needed in the UK.
“Without such protection, Prince Harry and his family cannot return home. The Duke first offered to personally pay for UK police protection for himself and his family in January 2020 at Sandringham.
“This offer was rejected. He remains prepared to cover the cost of security, so as not to impose it on the British taxpayer.
“As is well known, other people who have left public service and pose an inherent threat risk are provided with police protection at no cost to them.
“Prince Harry’s goal was simple: to keep himself and his family safe while in the UK so his children could experience his home country.”
Metro.co.uk has approached representatives for the Duke and Duchess for further comment.
A government spokesperson said: ‘The UK Government’s protective security system is rigorous and proportionate.
“It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information about these arrangements, as this could compromise their integrity and affect the safety of people.”
“It would not be appropriate to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings.”
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