LONDON: Prince Harry on Tuesday lost his legal bid to challenge the British government’s refusal to let him pay for his own police protection when he is in the United Kingdom.

Harry, King Charles’ younger son, was stripped of the police security usually afforded to royal figures in the United Kingdom after he and his American wife Meghan stepped down from their official roles in 2020 to move to the United States.

The High Court in London last year already agreed he should be allowed to challenge the original decision to end his protection. But on Tuesday it rejected his bid for a second court review over the rejection of his offer to pay privately for the highly-trained officers.

The decision to remove publicly-funded security was taken by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures, known by the acronym RAVEC, which approves security for the royals and VIPs, such as the prime minister.

Last week, lawyers for Harry had argued RAVEC did not have the power to reject his funding offer, and even if it did have such authority, it was wrong not to consider an exception or hear representations on his behalf.

However, lawyers for the police and the government said it would be wrong to allow the fifth-in-line to the throne to pay, as it would mean wealthy individuals were able to “buy” specially trained officers as private bodyguards.

They argued it would be unreasonable for officers to be required to put themselves in harm’s way if the committee had already considered it was not in the public’s or the state’s interest to do so. It was very different to paying for policing for a soccer match, a marathon, or even a celebrity’s wedding, they said. In his written ruling, Judge Martin Chamberlain agreed.

“RAVEC’s reasoning was that there are policy reasons why those services should not be made available for payment, even though others are. I can detect nothing that is arguably irrational in that reasoning,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2023

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