They’ve developed a reputation over the years for instigating lawsuits. And last week, the Sussexes were at it again, as the first hearing took place in their case against the actual UK government. The couple are currently in a dispute over police protection while they’re in the UK, arguing that they won’t be able to return without it, that they’d pay for it, and that he “inherited a security risk at birth, for life” – despite the fact they’ve renounced their royal privileges.
Two days later after the case hit the High Court, it was revealed that the Queen was battling COVID – and while her case was thankfully mild, there’s no denying that it’s spectacularly bad timing for her to be dealing with her own grandson taking the Home Office to court.
Last week, Harry’s barrister said her client wants to be able to return home, but does not feel safe without the police protection he used to have as a working royal: “It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support charities that are so close to his heart.”
However, the Home Office say Harry’s offer to pay is irrelevant, as personal protective security by the police “is not available on a privately financed basis”.
CHECK OUT Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship from the start
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
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The case is set to continue, and this can only sour relations between the couple and the royal family further. While the covid-stricken Queen was still continuing with “light duties”, there was consensus around the Palace that Harry and Meghan should read the room and throw their support behind the monarchy and the government, instead of doing the opposite and taking the government to court.
“The royals are dismayed by Harry’s ongoing legal case,” says a Palace insider, arguing that this is the last thing the Queen needs in her Platinum Jubilee year. “The whole sorry saga is no doubt saddening for the Queen, as she’s hoped for so long that Harry could resolve his disputes in an amicable and less heavy-handed manner. The fact that he’s adopted this aggressive stance will not be welcome – and the timing is dreadful because she’s under the weather. All the Queen wants is peace and harmony, and yet the negative attention and headlines involving the Sussexes just keep on coming.”
Despite their many outbursts against “the establishment”, Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, have always pledged their respect for and devotion to the Queen, and even named their nine-month-old daughter Lilibet after her (they’re also parents to Archie, two). But the fact they’re now suing the government does not come across as supportive of the monarch – especially since they’ve warned that without police protection, they won’t be able to return to the UK to join the Platinum Jubilee celebrations (or introduce baby Lilibet to her namesake). We’re told that the couple’s unflinching determination to take the matter to the High Court is doing nothing to temper and repair relations.
“This is awkward and stressful for the Queen and the royal family,” says our source. “The family want Harry to feel safe back home, of course, but the hope is that he’ll drop the case, find a compromise, and support his grandmother without making unrealistic demands.”
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