Harry told Queen: ‘We can’t afford private security until Meghan and I make our own money’

The Duke of Sussex sent an email claiming that he and his wife couldn’t afford their own security until they could earn their own money, court documents show.

The report appeared in newspapers as part of Prince Harry’s attempt to decide that the publishers of the Mail on Sunday slandered him with an article about his seeking police protection when he and his family visit the UK.

The court heard that in an April 2020 email to Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, Harry “made it clear that we couldn’t afford private security until we could earn”.

Harry’s lead attorney asked judge Matthew Nickin to either drop the publisher’s defense or order a summary judgment, which would be a ruling in the prince’s favor without going to court.

The Prince is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over the story published in February 2022 under the headline: “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal battle with the government over police bodyguards a secret…story broke – his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.

ANL disputes the claim, arguing that the article expressed an “honest opinion” and did not cause “serious harm” to his reputation.

The duke’s challenge to the Home Office came about after he was told he would no longer receive “the same degree” of personal protection during his visit.

Harry’s legal team argued that the security arrangements were invalid due to “procedural unfairness”, as he was not given the opportunity to make “pre-informed statements”.

However, Home Office lawyers previously said the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalties and Public Figures (Ravec) was entitled to come to the decision it made, namely that Harry’s security arrangements will be changed “on a case-by-case basis”. being watched.

At a preliminary hearing in the libel suit on Friday, the High Court in London heard the duke’s bid to strike out ANL’s “honest opinion” or return a verdict in his favour.

Justin Rushbrooke KC, for Harry, said the Mail on Sunday articles “purported to reveal in sensational terms” that information from court documents submitted by the Duke “contradicted public statements he had previously made about his willingness to pay for police protection for himself and his family while in the UK” .

The court was told that the claim relates to two statements made to journalists on Harry’s behalf, one that can be quoted publicly and a second that can be paraphrased as background information, about the Duke’s decision to take legal action against the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Court artist sketch of a split screen video link at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, showing Judge Nicklin, right, and counsel

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Court artist’s sketch of a split screen video link at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, with Judge Nicklin, right, and counsel


The court heard Harry and his family were described in the public statement as “unable to return to his home” due to the lack of police protection needed in the UK.

The statement continued: “The Duke first offered to personally pay for British police protection for himself and his family in January 2020 at Sandringham. That offer was declined. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, so as not to impose on the British taxpayer.”

Mr Rushbrooke said in written submissions that ANL’s defense against the libel suit “relies on two demonstrably false premises” regarding the statements.

The first was a suggestion that the Duke allegedly made a false claim about his willingness to pay for police protection in the UK, while the second was that he allegedly stated that his case against the Home Office was related to a refusal to make him pay for it. security.

Mr Rushbrooke told the court: “It is absolutely clear that this statement does not allege that the plaintiff made an offer to Ravec or the Home Office or that its judicial review proceedings would challenge a refusal to accept it.”

He said Harry’s public statement “expressly says” that he first offered to pay in January 2020 at a meeting in Sandringham.

Mr Rushbrooke said Harry’s public statement on the offer was “perfectly clear” but claimed the PA news agency’s coverage had been given “the wrong end of the stick” by saying the legal action was about a decision by the ministry of the Interior not to allow him to pay.

“That seems to have been the starting point for much, if not all, of the publicity that followed on which the defendant relies,” the lawyer told the court.

Andrew Caldecott KC, on behalf of ANL, said the bid to end their defense without trial was “completely baseless” and that “the whole thing is built on sand”.

He said in written submissions: “The plaintiff was responsible for press statements saying he would pay for security, when he had never shown any willingness to pay until after the judicial review.”

Mr Caldecott later claimed that in an April 2020 email to Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary at the time, Harry “made it clear that we couldn’t afford private security until we could earn”.

The lawyer added that Harry’s offer at Sandringham was presented “as an offer to ‘pay or contribute’ to the family, not the government”.

He continued: “The press statement then refers to ‘another attempt at negotiations’ which is ‘also rejected’. In itself, that should suggest an attempt to negotiate with the government.”

The hearing ended Friday afternoon and Mr Justice Nicklin was due to make a ruling at a later date.

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