Prince Harry has told a court he “felt forced” to leave the United Kingdom with his wife Meghan Markle in 2020 but that it remains his “home”.
The Duke of Sussex submitted a statement on Thursday – which was read in the High Court on his behalf – as part of his legal challenge to the Home Office over its decision to downgrade his security protection.
Harry claimed that he and Meghan’s relocation to the United States, widely dubbed as “Megxit”, came “with great sadness”.
“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,” Harry’s statement read.
“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.”
Harry’s latest declaration came after the Home Office pointed out that it was his decision to move overseas, which was what prompted his taxpayer-funded security downgrade.
The government says his claim should be dismissed.
In their initial statement which sent shockwaves around the world in early 2020, Harry and Meghan declared they had chosen to “step back” from official royal duties.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” their message read.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
However, during Thursday’s hearing, Harry’s barrister Shaheed Fatima KC told the court that the royal did not accept that the end of his tenure as a “full time working member of the royal family” was a “choice”.
Earlier this week, the lawyer also argued “no good reason for singling out the claimant [Prince Harry]” and that he was treated “less favourably” than others.
The government has rejected that claim, insisting he was treated in a lawful “bespoke manner” regarding protection during his visits back to the UK.