Prince Harry has made a bold declaration to a UK court, asserting that he and Meghan Markle “felt forced” to exit the United Kingdom.
The Duke of Sussex is now embroiled in a legal tussle with the government, challenging its controversial decision to downgrade the security protection afforded to him.
In a statement issued to the High Court on Thursday, December 7, Harry detailed the challenges he and his wife faced, citing concerns for their safety as a pivotal factor behind their departure. The couple, who stepped back from their official royal duties in early 2020, has been living in the United States with their two children.
“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,” the statement read.
“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 there is no possibility to keep them safe when they are on UK soil.
“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.”
Prince Harry’s recent statement follows the Home Office’s assertion that it was his choice to relocate abroad, prompting the reduction in his taxpayer-funded security. The UK government contends that his argument should be dismissed.
Earlier this year, Prince Harry attempted, unsuccessfully, to convince another judge that he should be allowed to personally fund London’s police force for his security when he visits the city. The judge rejected the proposal, aligning with a government lawyer’s stance that law enforcement officers should not serve as “private bodyguards for the wealthy”.
The youngest son of King Charles III, Prince Harry expressed unease about returning to Britain with his wife and their two young children. Citing concerns for their safety, he highlighted an incident where he was pursued by paparazzi after a London charity event, emphasising the need for enhanced security measures.
Harry and Meghan shocked royal watchers when they announced they would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family in 2020.
In a statement, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan said they would be carving out “a progressive new role within this institution” by balancing their time between the UK and North America while “continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen”.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” the statement read.
“We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”