Scobie: Prince Harrys UK security issues need to be worked out quickly
Omid Scobie’s Yahoo UK column this week is “Royal staff and the British government need to make sure Harry and his family get the security they need – before it’s too late.” Prince Harry is now involved in two lawsuits to get police protection when he visits the UK, and he’s been clear about it the entire time: he wants high-level police security and he wants to reimburse the taxpayer for the cost of the protection. Currently, one part of his case (against the Home Offie) will be going through a Judicial Review at some point. Just last week, he sued the Met police. Scobie talks about how Harry, Meghan and their children have a real need for police protection during their visits and that the Men In Grey better figure this sh-t out in a hurry. Some highlights:
Royals are targets: For members of the monarchy, including those who have chosen to step away like Prince Harry, this high level of security is essential. Alongside the Prime Minister, Royal Family members are some of the most targeted individuals in the country. Given this fact, it’s hard to then understand why Prince Harry is still locked in a lengthy High Court battle with the British Home Office over the protection privileges he lost in early 2020. The duke says he has been forced to keep visits to his home turf few and far between as his private security in the U.S. don’t have adequate jurisdiction in Britain (i.e. access to necessary intelligence and the ability to arm themselves).
RAVEC is shady: RAVEC – which includes senior aides of the royal household and former government officials – don’t appear to have a publicly visible and defined set of guidelines for this issue. If they did then surely the sensitivities around Prince Andrew and his security arrangements would have come under immense scrutiny. Though stripped of all royal patronages and military affiliations after the shame of his close friendship with a paedophile billionaire and paying out millions to rape accuser Virginia Giuffre, Andrew’s Scotland Yard protection remains an annual and unchallenged cost of around $500,000 to the British taxpayer.
A high number of threats: Harry’s fears aren’t rooted in paranoia. While covering Harry and Meghan’s time as working royals, I was made aware of the astonishingly high number of threats sent to the couple — the majority received from U.K. locations and many of them rooted in racism towards the duchess. It’s no different today. Sources tell me that during the Sussex family’s visit for the Platinum Jubilee (which they were given state security for as it was an official royal event), a number of credible threats were intercepted by authorities. I witness a lot myself, too. Thanks to a never-ending stream of false tabloid tales calling me the couple’s “close friend” or “spokesman”, I regularly receive an extension of their online threats. The messages range from extreme racism to disturbingly violent scenes involving the likes of dismemberment, car accidents and rape. They always get forwarded to the police.
The curious case of Edward Young: In his first case against the Home Office, a judge recently granted Harry the right to challenge the lack of transparency around RAVEC’s decision making and policies. Whilst a court also heard Harry was unhappy that the Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young, who the duke has had “significant tensions” with, was on the deciding committee, Harry was not granted the right to judicial review based on this ground. Just a month before RAVEC’s conclusion, Young – who has served Her Majesty for over 18 years – attempted to stop the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from meeting with the Queen when they made their decision to step back.
Harry simply wants to pay for his police security: RAVEC’s lawyers argue that they were entitled to reach its decision, which currently sees Harry’s security arrangements considered on a case by case basis. However, it seems cruel in the extreme to allow Prince Andrew round-the-clock police protection but not the future King’s son. It comes across as the Establishment punishing Harry, yet again, for breaking away from the Firm and sharing his experiences publicly. But the safety of others should never be up for debate. While each side has its differences (and it’s unlikely they will ever see eye to eye), there is only one acceptable solution to this fight: reinstate Harry’s access to security at his own expense – before it’s too late.
Scobie mentions that Harry was likely referencing Edward Young when Harry spoke about needing to ensure that the Queen has “the right people around her.” To Harry, Young is not the right person. Young is playing some kind of petty, punitive game with Harry’s life and the lives of Harry’s wife and children. What’s even more asinine is that security should simply be determined by threat level. That’s what’s always been bonkers about this whole controversy – Salt Islanders are crying about “well Harry left” and “he thinks he can BUY the police” and “what does the Queen’s private secretary say” when this should solely be a police issue and a threat issue. And Scobie is reminding everyone that Andrew still has full royal protection too. Yep. It’s insulting.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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