Prince Harry denied permission to ‘jump the queue’ in security appeal

Prince Harry
Prince Harry was this week granted permission to appeal against a decision made in February - Geoff Pugh

Prince Harry’s request to expedite his appeal against a High Court ruling on security was denied by a Court of Appeal judge who said he could not “jump the queue”.

Prince Harry was this week granted permission to appeal against a decision made in February that backed the Government’s right to deny him automatic police protection.

He wanted the appeal to be heard by the end of July, in part due to fears that the ruling would influence the approach other countries take to his security.

With the Sussexes understood to be planning multiple overseas tours in the coming months, the Duke argued that the litigation had already dragged on for two-and-a-half years and said his legal team would be busy with other matters from October.

However, while Lord Justice Bean allowed the appeal, he refused the application to expedite proceedings.

The judge noted: “It is rightly not suggested that the claimant is entitled to jump the queue because of his status.”

Five grounds of appeal

He dismissed the Duke’s argument on timings, pointing out that he had not lodged legal proceedings until 18 months after the decision was made to withdraw his right to automatic security in February 2020.

Prince Harry did not seek a judicial review until September 2021.

In February, he “comprehensively lost” the case in a scathing ruling handed down by Mr Justice Lane, who insisted that the decision made by the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (Ravec) had not been irrational or procedurally unfair.

The Duke lodged a request to appeal on five grounds, most of which were rejected, including  a “hopeless” argument on costs.

However, Lord Justice Bean said that ground one, which is understood to suggest that Ravec failed to follow its own written policy, “would have a real prospect of success”.

He also concluded Mr Justice Lane may have erred in concluding the Duke was not in a comparable position to those in the “other VIP category” who receive state security.

The Prince’s other arguments were branded “unpersuasive”.

Lord Justice Bean said Mr Justice Lane was “plainly entitled” to find that the Duke had the ability to make representations as to how he should be treated.

He also found that the potential impact of a successful attack on the Duke was “at the core of Ravec’s deliberations” and that as such, there was “no prospect” of the judge’s findings being disturbed on appeal.

Decision ‘unimpeachable’

The fifth ground was based on costs. The litigation has already left the Duke with an estimated legal bill of more than £1 million – something he is seemingly keen to reduce.

Lord Justice Bean acknowledged that if the Duke were to win his appeal, the issue of costs would have to be revisited.

But he added: “As a free-standing ground of appeal this is hopeless. The judge was exercising a broad discretion. The claimant had failed to establish his case.”

He said Mr Justice Lane had decided what deduction should be made from the costs payable to the Government “because of the breach of the duty of candour”, adding that his decision was “unimpeachable”.

The Duke currently believes that he is unable to bring his wife, Meghan, or their two children, Prince Archie, five, and Princess Lilibet, three, to the UK due to fears for their safety.

The Telegraph revealed last month that the Duke had turned down an invitation from his father to stay at Buckingham Palace due to security concerns.