KEY POINTS

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to return to the U.K. for Prince Philip's memorial in the spring
  • The couple may not bring their children to visit if they are not allowed to pay for their own police protection while in the U.K.
  • The former head of Royal Protection said the Sussexes don't have the privilege of round-the-clock police service because they are not for hire

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may skip his grandfather Prince Philip's memorial if their legal dispute over police protection is not resolved, a report says.

While the couple has not announced any official travel plans for the year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to attend the spring memorial service for the late Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away in April last year at the age of 99, and introduce their 7-month-old daughter Lilibet to Queen Elizabeth II and the other members of the royal family, Page Six reported.

However, this may not happen as Prince Harry is in a legal dispute with the British government regarding a previous Home Office decision, in which he is unable to personally fund police protection for his family while in the U.K., according to the report.

Prince Harry is looking forward to bringing Lilibet and 2-year-old son Archie to the U.K., but they are "unable to return to his home" because he feels that it is too dangerous for them, a legal representative for the duke said. The prince argued that his private security team in the U.S. could not replicate the service of U.K. police because they have no adequate jurisdiction in his home country.

Prince Harry's request to pay for police protection came after an incident in July 2021 when he returned to London for the unveiling of Princess Diana's statue. His security was compromised when his car was chased by paparazzi as he left an event for children's charity WellChild.

One royal source told Page Six that if Prince Harry attends his grandfather's memorial, "he will want to have security for him and his family. If and when he decides to go back to the U.K., he needs security."

In a lengthy statement Saturday, reps for Prince Harry revealed that he has twice petitioned the U.K. government to allow him to pay for his own police security, including a request for a judicial review of the matter in September 2021, so "as not to impose on the British taxpayer." Both times his request was denied.

"Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life," his representative stated. "He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats."

The representative pointed out that "others who have left public office and have an inherent threat risk receive police protection at no cost to them."

Dai Davies, former head of Scotland Yard's royal protection and divisional commander in the Metropolitan Police Service, addressed Prince Harry's safety concerns in an exclusive interview with Mirror

Davies said he would argue against Prince Harry's claim that he is not safe in the U.K. He pointed out that British intelligence services "are hardly going to sit on it" if they discover any threat to the duke and his family.

Davies suggested that Prince Harry "is creating scenarios that do not exist."

He added that U.K. police will still cater to Prince Harry's needs if there's a "credible threat." However, the Sussexes don't have the privilege of having their service 24 hours because they are not for hire, according to Davies. 

"If ever there was a proper credible threat to Prince Harry or his family then the Met would take the appropriate action," Davies said. "If he or his family were to return to Britain in an official capacity or to support the Queen during the Platinum Jubilee events, I’m sure he would be afforded the necessary protection." 

Prince Harry and Meghan made the allegations of racism during an interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey in March Prince Harry and Meghan made the allegations of racism during an interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey in March Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss