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Prince Harry 'does not feel safe in the UK' - lawyers reveal in High Court case

A preliminary hearing took place on Friday

The Duke of Sussex wants to return to the UK but "does not feel safe," his legal team have told the High Court in the first preliminary hearing against the Home Office over his police protection in the UK.

Prince Harry, 37, has applied for a judicial review of a Home Office decision not to allow him to personally pay for police protection for himself and his family when they are in the UK.

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WATCH: Prince Harry's last visit to the UK for Princess Diana statue unveiling

He wants to bring his children, Archie, two, and eight-month-old Lilibet, to visit from the US, but he and his family are "unable to return to his home" because it is too dangerous, a legal representative for the Duke previously said.

The Duke's legal representative QC Shaheed Fatima said at Friday's hearing: "This claim is about the fact that the Duke does not feel safe when he is in the UK given the security arrangements applied to him in June 2021 and will continue to be applied if he decides to come back.

"It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart.

"This is and always will be his home."

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Harry last visited the UK in July 2021 for the Princess Diana statue unveiling

Harry and Meghan lost their taxpayer-funded police protection in the aftermath of quitting as senior working royals in early 2020.

The Duke, who did not attend Friday's hearing in person, is arguing that his private protection team in the US does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information which is needed to keep his family safe.

He briefly returned from California last year for the 1 July unveiling of the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial statue and, the day before, on June 30, he met seriously ill children and young people at a WellChild garden party and afternoon tea in Kew Gardens, west London.

It is understood the Duke's car was chased by photographers as he left.

A legal representative for Harry previously said the Duke wants to fund the security himself, rather than ask taxpayers to foot the bill. However Robert Palmer QC, for the Home Office, told the court that Harry's offer of private funding was "irrelevant".

In written submissions, he said: "Personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis, and Ravec [Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures] does not make decisions on the provision of such security on the basis that any financial contribution could be sought or obtained to pay for it."

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Harry and Meghan now reside in the US with their children

He said Ravec had attributed to the Duke "a form of exceptional status" where he is considered for personal protective security by the police "with the precise arrangements being dependent on the reason for his presence in Great Britain and by reference to the functions he carries out when present".

The barrister added: "A case-by-case approach rationally and appropriately allows Ravec to implement a responsive approach to reflect the applicable circumstances."

The Home Office's written arguments also claim that Harry's offer of funding was "notably not advanced to Ravec" at the time of the Duke's visit in June 2021, or in any pre-action discussions.

Mr Palmer later said in the written submissions that the Duke had "failed to afford the necessary measure of respect" to the Home Secretary and Ravec as "the expert, and democratically accountable, decision-maker on matters of protective security and associated risk assessment".

He added that the Home Office will "seek the costs incurred as a result of this claim in full, including those of the confidentiality exercise, which has resulted in costs being incurred to the public purse". 

Friday's preliminary hearing at the High Court at London is expected to cover what parts of the court documents can be made public or must be kept private.

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