LONDON (AP) — Lawyers for Prince Harry told a court hearing on Friday that the British royal is unwilling to bring his children to his homeland because it is not safe.
Harry has launched a legal challenge to the U.K. government’s refusal to let him personally pay for police protection when he comes to Britain.
His legal team says Harry wants to bring his children — Archie, who is almost 3, and 8-month-old Lilibet — to visit his home country from the United States but thinks it would be too risky without police protection.
Harry, who lives in Santa Barbara, California, with the children and his wife, Megan, did not attend Friday’s preliminary hearing. The court considered requests by both sides in the case for parts of some legal documents to be kept private.
Senior members of Britain’s royal family are given taxpayer-funded police protection, but Harry lost that when he and Meghan stepped down as working royals and moved to the United States in 2020. The couple said their decision was due to what they described as unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.
Harry, also known as the Duke of Sussex, wants to be able to pay for the protection, saying his private security team in the U.S. doesn’t have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to U.K. intelligence information.
During a hearing at the High Court in London, Harry’s lawyer, Shaheed Fatima, said the prince “does not feel safe when he is in the U.K. given the security arrangements applied to him.”
“It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart,” she said. “Most of all, this is and always will be, his home.”
A lawyer representing the British government, Robert Palmer, called Harry’s claim “unarguable and unmeritorious.”
Palmer said in a written submission that Harry’s offer to pay for police security was irrelevant because “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis.”