Harry and Meghan 'forced' to leave Royal Family and move to US, High Court hears

The prince rejected a claim from Home Office lawyers that it was his 'choice' to leave the UK which led to the downgrades to his security arrangements.

Prince Harry has told a court that he and Meghan were “forced” to leave the Royal Family and move to the United States.

He spoke about it being a matter of “great sadness” and how the UK is “central to the heritage” of his two children, Archie and Lilibet.

It came in the form of a witness statement from the Duke of Sussex read before a judge.

Harry is taking the Home Office to court over the decision in 2020 to remove his publicly-funded protection.

He rejected a claim from Home Office lawyers that it was his “choice” to leave the UK which led to the downgrades to his security arrangements.

The prince claimed the current arrangements mean he, Meghan and his children are not safe in the UK and he said he refuses to put his wife “in danger”.

Harry’s lawyer, Shaheed Fatima KC, read a statement in Court 3 of the High Court.

“It was with great sadness for both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020,” Harry said.

“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.”

The Home Office argues that Prince Harry now has a “bespoke” set of arrangements to provide him and his family with security when he – or they – visit the UK.

Harry was last in his country of birth in September, when he came to London to speak at an award ceremony for one of his charities, WellChild, and visit the grave of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth in St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle.

But the Duke of Sussex told the court his family cannot feel at home in the UK “if it is not possible to keep them safe when they are on UK soil.”

He wrote: “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 decision to lower the level of publicly-funded security for Prince Harry and his family was taken by a Home Office committee called RAVEC – which oversees the protection of royals and other high-profile public figures.

Despite leaving his role as a full-time working royal, Harry is still the son of King Charles and remains fifth in line to the throne.

His lawyers have argued the decision by RAVEC was “irrational” and showed that Harry was treated “less favourably” than other people in similar positions.

His legal team also claims the committee reached the decision without following its own correct procedures.

Home Office lawyers argued the RAVEC committee did not remove all security for the Sussexes when they are in the UK and instead put a “bespoke” set of arrangements in place to reflect his new situation – where is life is based in California on the west coast of the USA.

The judge has retired to consider the arguments and will make a judgement in the coming weeks.

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