US officials 'must hand over Harry's visa papers' amid row over drug-taking, as government fights to block release

7 March 2024, 23:07 | Updated: 7 March 2024, 23:17

Prince Harry
Prince Harry. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A US judge has ordered the government to hand over Prince Harry's visa application documents, as he decides whether to make them public.

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The Heritage Foundation, a conservative US think tank sued to see Harry's application to see if he had lied about taking drugs.

The Duke of Sussex admitted to taking cannabis, cocaine and magic mushrooms in his memoir Spare.

But the US government said that the admissions are not proof of drug abuse, and may have been a ploy to sell books.

The Department for Homeland Security has said that releasing the documents would infringe on Harry's privacy.

But judge Carl Nichols ordered them to be handed over, claiming the privacy argument was not detailed enough. He also wants the government to explain what exactly the harm would be of releasing the visa application documents.

Read more: Harry and Meghan 'plot UK return' amid 'vacuum' caused by Charles' illness and William stepping back to care for Kate

Read more: Ex-stripper who threatened to leak nude photos of Prince Harry on OnlyFans amid ‘anger’ at duke has account banned

Prince Harry
Prince Harry. Picture: Alamy

The Heritage Foundation earlier said in a court filing: "Widespread and continuous media coverage has surfaced the question of whether DHS properly admitted the Duke of Sussex in light of the fact that he has publicly admitted to the essential elements of a number of drug offenses."

Applicants for US visas are asked if they have taken drugs or been a drug addict. That doesn't necessarily mean they will be denied a visa, but the think tank wants to see if Harry told the truth, and whether he was given preferential treatment.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Picture: Alamy

Donald Trump, likely to be the Republican candidate to stand against Joe Biden in the presidential election this November, criticised the US government's legal efforts.

"I wouldn't protect him," the former president told the Express. "He betrayed the Queen. That's unforgivable. He would be on his own if it was down to me.

He added: "I think they have been too gracious to him after what he has done."

Prince Harry
Prince Harry. Picture: Alamy

Harry said earlier this month that he had considered applying to become a US citizen. He said: "American citizenship is a thought that has crossed my mind but isn't something that's a high priority for me right now."

Donald Trump and the Queen
Donald Trump and the Queen ahead of a banquet. Picture: Alamy

Sources close to Harry have previously suggested that he gave the truth on his visa application.

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