Queen wanted Harry to keep security despite prince's claim he was 'forced' to leave UK after it was downgraded

9 December 2023, 13:43

The Queen supported the idea of Harry keeping security after Megxit
The Queen supported the idea of Harry keeping security after Megxit. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A letter from the late Queen shows she wanted to keep Prince Harry's security - despite Harry's claim he was "forced" to leave the UK after his protection was removed.

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He is battling a decision to take it away after he stepped back from being a full time working royal.

However, a letter from Queen Elizabeth II - released as part of the documents used in the High Court case - shows how she believed it was "imperative" Harry keep "effective security".

In early 2020 Sir Edward Young, the Queen's most senior aide, had told the government's top civil servant about the implications of Harry and Meghan's decision to stop being full time royals.

Sir Edward told Sir Mark Sedwill that the Queen believed he should keep a security detail and alluded to Diana's harassment as he said Harry was said to face threats from "extremists".

In his correspondence, Sir Edward says Harry and Meghan would need to visit their charities and causes during future trips to the UK, which would attract public attention.

Read more: Charles 'refusing to be emotionally blackmailed by Harry' as King remains 'full of energy' despite royal racism row

Harry said he and Meghan were effectively forced to leave the UK
Harry said he and Meghan were effectively forced to leave the UK. Picture: Alamy

"You will understand well that ensuring that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain safe is of paramount importance to Her Majesty and her family," he wrote.

"Given the Duke's public profile by virtue of being born into the royal family, his military service, the Duchess's own independent profile and the well-documented history of targeting of the Sussex family by extremists, it is imperative that the family continues to be provided with effective security.

Read more: Prince Harry's libel case over article about his security arrangements must go to trial, judge rules

"And, of course, the family is mindful of tragic incidents of the past. The discussions to date, including with [the former chairman of Ravec], have been useful in making sure that the parameters of the Ravec process are well understood.

"Of course, Her Majesty and her family recognise that these are independent processes and decisions about the provision of publicly funded security are for the UK Government, the government of Canada and any other host government."

Queen Elizabeth said she wanted Harry to keep his protection
Queen Elizabeth said she wanted Harry to keep his protection. Picture: Alamy

Those pleas go against the Duke of Sussex's claim that he was effectively cut off by the royals, forcing him to leave for North America.

The letter was submitted to the court to prove whether and when Harry did offer to pay for his own protection, with the prince claiming he raised it during a Sandringham meeting with Elizabeth.

But Ravec, the government committee that decides on VIP protection, and ultimately removed Harry's, says it was never given that kind of offer.

His legal team says the Royal and VIP Executive Committee did not carry out the usual risk analysis and claims transparency was lacking.

In a statement read out in court, Harry wrote how he could not bring his children to experience their British heritage if he cannot keep them safe.

"It was with great sadness to both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020," he said.

"The UK is my home. The UK is central to the heritage of my children and a place I want them to feel at home as much as where they live at the moment in the United States.

"That cannot happen if there is no possibility to keep them safe when they are on UK soil.

"I can't put my wife in danger like that, and given my experiences in life I'm reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm's way too."

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