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Prince Harry in U.K. High Court battle over downgraded security on visits to Britain

Paparazzi pursue Harry, Meghan in New York City
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were chased by paparazzi in New York City, spokesperson says 03:21

London — Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is challenging the U.K. government's decision to provide him with less police protection when he comes back for visits. The government decided to deny the duke the highest level of state-funded protection after he and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, stepped down as senior working members of the royal family in 2021. He lost an appeal earlier this year in which he sought permission to pay for the police protection independently.

Harry's lawyers argued in front of Britain's High Court that RAVEC, the committee that makes security decisions regarding the royals on behalf of Britain's Home Office, "should have considered the 'impact' that a successful attack on [Harry] would have, bearing in mind his status, background, and profile within The Royal Family — which he was born into and which he will have for the rest of his life - and his ongoing charity work and service to the public."

The committee should also have "considered, in particular, the impact on the UK's reputation of a successful attack on [Harry]," the duke's legal team said in written arguments presented Tuesday.

The prince's lawyers argued that if RAVEC had followed its own policies, it would have provided Harry with more robust security, in line with the security it provides some other VIPs.

A lawyer for the Home Office said the "bespoke" way in which Prince Harry's case was handled was appropriate and "reflected the very particular combination of circumstances in his case," according to The Guardian newspaper.

"It is judged to be right in principle that the allocation of finite public resources which results from protective security provided by the state be allocated to individuals who are acting in the interests of the state through their public role," the Home Office lawyer said.

Harry, whose mother Princess Diana was killed in a Paris car crash as her vehicle was chased by paparazzi, has a long-standing distrust of the media. He's argued that threats and hatred aimed at he and Meghan are evidence of their need for high-level police protection during visits to Britain.

The case was expected to wrap up by Thursday.

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