PRINCE Harry faces a hefty bill if he loses his High Court battle for security to cover the blow to the public purse.
The Duke of Sussex, 37, has taken legal action against the government over the decision to withdraw his police bodyguards after stepping back from royal duties two years ago.
Harry, who quit his royal duties and gave up the privileges that come with working to live in California with Meghan Markle two years ago, said he felt “unsafe” in the UK.
He wants to fund his own armed Met Police bodyguards – but the Home Office has refused and insiders say the police aren’t “guns”.
It is believed to be the first time a member of the Royal Family has sued Her Majesty’s Government.
And if Harry loses the battle in the High Court, he faces a large bill to cover taxpayer funds the Home Office used to fight the case.
In written submissions, Robert Palmer QC, for the Home Office, said the department would “seek the full costs incurred as a result of this claim, including those of the confidentiality exercise, which resulted in costs to the public treasury considerably beyond those more generally awarded”.
The Interior Ministry team included two lawyers and six lawyers in court.
Harry argues that his private protection team in the United States does not have adequate overseas jurisdiction or access to British intelligence information needed to keep his family safe.
The Duke’s case is being heard by Judge Swift at the High Court in London – but Harry is not present in person.
Shaheed Fatima QC, for Harry, said: “This claim relates to the claimant not feeling safe while in the UK given the security measures that were applied to him in June 2021 and will continue to be applied to it.”
She continued: “It goes without saying that he wants to come back to see his family and friends and continue to support the charities that are close to his heart.
“Above all, it is and always will be his home.”
Judge Swift said he would not rule on the request on Friday.
The hearing heard a request from both parties that parts of the court documents in the case remain confidential.
It comes just six weeks before Harry is due to return to Britain for a service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey with the Queen.
But he complained that he couldn’t come back with Meg, Archie and Lilibet, “because it’s too dangerous”.
He gets security when staying at Frogmore Cottage or attending royal events, but must fend for himself if he wants to see friends and visit his British charities.
A legal representative for the Duke said: “Prince Harry inherited a lifelong security risk.
“He remains sixth in line to the throne, has served two combat missions in Afghanistan and in recent years his family has been the subject of well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.
“While his role within the institution has changed, his profile as a member of the royal family has not changed. Neither has the threat to him and his family.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are personally funding a private security team for their family, but this security cannot replicate the police protection needed in the UK.
“Without such protection, Prince Harry and his family cannot return home.”
The hearing in the High Court continues.