Prince Harry claims he was ‘forced to step back’ from royal duties, court hears

The Duke of Sussex believes he was “forced” to step back from royal duties and leave the UK, he has told the High Court.

The Duke disputed a suggestion, made during a legal challenge against the Home Office decision to deny him automatic police protection in the UK, that he had chosen to stop being a “full time working member of the Royal family”.

Shaheed Fatima KC, his barrister, said she wanted to make it “quite clear” that this was not the case.

She read an excerpt from the Duke’s witness statement in which he said: “It was with great sadness for the both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020.

“The UK is my home. The UK 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 it is not possible to keep them safe when they are on UK soil.

‘Cannot put my wife in danger’

“I cannot put my wife in danger like that and, given my experiences in life, I am reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm’s way too.”

The Duke applied for a judicial review after the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) declared in February 2020 that he and his family were no longer entitled to the “same degree” of personal security when visiting Britain.

Instead, it created a “bespoke” approach that involved assessing each visit on its merits but which has resulted in the Duke being denied police protection on each of his last six trips.

His claim has been heard over the last two-and-a-half days before Mr Justice Lane, who was told the Duke had been singled out and treated “less favourably” than others.

‘Unlawful and unfair treatment’

The Duke said the Home Office committee had subjected him to “unlawful and unfair treatment”.

Ms Fatima also argued that Ravec had failed to consider the potential “impact on the UK’s reputation” of a successful attack on the Duke, “bearing in mind his status, background and profile within the Royal family”.

The royal household was said to have raised the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in its own correspondence on the subject and the committee was aware of the wider “impact” of any attack on her younger son as a result.

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