Prince Harry: 'You can't buy a policeman' says Robert Jobson
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The Duke of Sussex is taking legal action against the Government to allow him to pay for Metropolitan Police security for him and his family when they visit the UK. He lost his taxpayer-funded police protection when he and Meghan Markle stepped back from their royal duties in 2020. They currently privately fund their own security in the US, where they live.
But Harry is now seeking a judicial review against a Home Office decision not to allow him police protection when in the UK, which he stated he is happy to pay for.
His legal representatives claim that the private security team currently employed by the couple does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information necessary to protect the family.
It means that visiting his home is now too dangerous, according to one of his representatives.
Yet, some members of the Royal Family have had to pay for their own private security in the UK for over a decade.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, also granddaughters of the Queen, have used their own purses for protection since 2011.
They were stripped of their 24-hour police protection after a row erupted over the £500,000 annual cost.
It was decided that they would only be given protection when they attended official events on behalf of the Royal Family, where there would already be a big police presence because of senior members.
Prince Andrew was incensed about the decision, and fought ferociously for the protection officers to stay.
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He argued that his daughters should be treated differently from other minor royals because they enjoy HRH status.
But, in the end, his argument failed for various reasons, one being because of their cousin Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne, who has no protection, even though she arguably had a higher public profile.
The Queen made it clear that she expected them to pursue their own career after finishing university rather than go on the Civil List as working members of the Firm.
This is something they did, with Beatrice currently employed as Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti and Eugenie an associate director for art gallery Hauser & Wirth.
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The funding row reached its zenith after Eugenie is said to have racked up a £100,000 security bill during her gap year.
While she paid for the hotels and travelling itself, the massive security bill, including overtime, was funded by the taxpayer.
Richard Kay, a veteran royal author, speaking during Channel 5’s documentary ‘Beatrice and Eugenie: Pampered Princesses?’, commented on the debacle, and said: “She was sort of flitting from country to country as most middle-class young people do who take gap years.
“But, of course, she was accompanied by police bodyguards.
“That meant that we the taxpayers were paying for policemen to accompany her to the fleshpots of the world.”
Charles reportedly stepped in to control the spending, the future monarch being keen on relieving the “burden” of the family on the taxpayer.
Beatrice and Eugenie have since paid for their own security for outings not related to official royal events.
Many have since commented on Harry’s request to have access to Met police protection, drawing parallels with his situation and the princesses.
Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, a royal commentator, this week appeared on GB News and suggested the Duke should copy his cousins and use a private security firm based in the UK.
He said: “They hire ex-royal protection officers who are extremely skilled and have a lot of history in this area and they’ve also got security clearance in the royal palaces.
“[The only thing is] that they don’t have is a firearm, which is quite understandable.
“And if Prince Harry speaks very nicely to Beatrice and Eugenie, maybe he can borrow their protection officers when he’s in the country.
“And of course, we’re only talking about the occasions when he’s not in royal surroundings because if Harry’s over here, visiting his family, you will, of course, get the same protection that they’re getting by virtue of being in the same area.”
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