When Prince Harry and Meghan ‘stepped back’ as working royals, you’d be forgiven for thinking we would see and hear from them a little less. Not so. This week, the Duke of Sussex has repeatedly hit the headlines. Not content with delivering a stern (and far from well received) speech at the United Nations, in which he invoked Nelson Mandela’s name to make a selection of hackneyed points, Harry is back in the news. Today we learn the Duke has won a partial victory in the latest instalment of his apparently endless court cases against the British establishment: in this case, the Home Office.
Those who are not studying for their postgraduate degrees in the continuing exploits of Harry and Meghan may need a brief reminder. As anyone who saw the Duke dolefully complaining about ‘our security’ in last year’s Oprah interview will remember, the provision of private protection for him and his family has loomed large in his thoughts ever since they staged their quasi-abdication at the beginning of 2020. But the Home Office takes a dim view of private citizens – if that is what such an attention-seeking clan can be described as – being able to pay for police protection when visiting the United Kingdom, and denied him the opportunity to do so.
Most people would not give this a first thought, let alone a second one. Yet the Duke is a man who broods, and, like many of the global elite who he now rubs shoulders with, brooding usually leads to expensive legal action. Perhaps inevitably, Harry has launched proceedings against the Home Office for its decision.
While normal folk – particularly those with two young kids – probably have better things to do than spend a virtually limitless amount of money – acquired, naturally, through Netflix deals and the like – on suing the government of their former country, Prince Harry is different.
The first round of this particular case has gone his way, with reservations. Today’s judgement from Mr Justice Swift grants Prince Harry the opportunity for a judge-led review of the Home Office decision, although it is not an unequivocal victory; Swift stated that: ‘The application for permission to apply for judicial review is allowed in part and refused in part’. But even a partial victory will likely be greeted by Brand Sussex as another example of their continued winning streak. Mess with us and you’ll be the worse for it, is the implication.
This would be considerably less problematic were it not for the fact that the Duke and his advisors seem not to understand that, whatever the legal outcome, they have long since lost in the court of public opinion. Taking legal action against the government of a country in which Harry no longer resides looks like just the latest grotesque example of entitlement that this not-so-happy prince has exhibited for many years now. Back home in Britain, most ordinary people are worried about soaring gas bills and how to keep food on the table as inflation bites. But not Harry, it seems.
It is extremely unlikely that anyone, even those who might once have shown some sympathy for the Sussexes, will be crossing their fingers in hope that the next stage in Harry’s never-ending attempt to keep the country’s most expensive lawyers in work will be a successful one.
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