Two years after stepping back from his royal duties and losing his family’s public-funded protection in the U.K., Prince Harry is addressing his fears about bringing his and Meghan Markle’s two kids to England.
The 37-year-old duke’s attorney Shaheed Fatima told London courts on Friday, February 18, that the former military pilot “does not feel safe” traveling to his home country with son Archie, 2, and daughter Lilibet, 8 months.
Harry was not present at the Royal Courts of Justice preliminary hearing, which addresses his desires to have his family’s taxpayer-funded police protection reinstated.
“This claim is about the fact that the claimant does not feel safe when he is in the U.K. given the security arrangements that were applied to him in June 2021 and will continue to be applied to him if he decides to come back,” Fatima continued at the hearing. “And, of course, it should go without saying that he wants to come back: to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart. Most of all, this is, and always will be, his home.”
The royal family member and the Suits alum, 40, announced their decision to step back from their duties as senior royal family members in January 2020. The pair subsequently lived in Canada and Los Angeles with Archie, before settling in Montecito, California, where they welcomed Lilibet last year.
The couple, who made their exits permanent in February 2021, privately pay for their own police protection in the United States.
In September 2021, Harry applied for a judicial review of their security arrangements in the U.K. When a Home Office decision ruled that he would be unable to personally fund police protection for his family while visiting, the England native issued a statement about his fight for proper security.
“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 read last month. “While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the royal family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family.”
The statement went on to note that while the couple “personally fund a private security team for the family, that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the U.K.,” concluding, “In absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return home.”
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Royal expert Richard Aitch exclusively told Us Weekly that it’s “difficult” to predict how much the family of four’s security could potentially cost.
“The cost for a personal protection officer from the [Metropolitan Police] has been estimated to be around £100,000 a year,” the director of operations for Mobius International Security explained at the time. “What may appear as a wish on paper is far more in reality, and the costs can certainly be quite huge.”