‘I cannot put my wife in danger,’ Prince Harry explains to the Court of Meghan Markle and their children’s security matters

Prince Harry is fighting for more security in the United Kingdom, saying he wants his children to «feel at home» in his homeland, which won’t be possible «if there is no possibility of keeping them safe when they are on U.K. soil.»

His attorneys presented a statement from the Duke of Sussex, who did not attend court, during a three-day trial in London. Harry stated that he «felt forced» to stand down from his royal duty and leave the United Kingdom in 2020 due to security worries for his family, which includes his wife, Meghan Markle, and their two children, Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2.

«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,» he stated in a statement to ITV. «The United Kingdom is my home.» The United Kingdom is an important part of my children’s ancestry, and I want them to feel at home there as much as they do in the United States. That cannot happen if there is no way to keep them secure while they are on British territory.»

He went on to say, «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.»

The Duke of Sussex’s attorneys are contesting the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) decision to terminate Harry’s automatic access to U.K. police security in February 2020. Although Prince Harry volunteered to pay for security, his offer was turned down.

The legal team for the Duke of Sussex has indicated that he «does not feel safe» bringing his two children to the United Kingdom.

«Of course, it should go without saying that he wants to come back: to see family and friends, and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart,» his lawyer Shaheed Fatima said in 2022 at the Royal Courts of Justice. «Most of all, this is, and always will be, his home.»

Meghan and Harry have only brought their children to the United Kingdom once since moving to California in 2020: in 2022, when they attended Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee festivities and celebrated Lili’s first birthday in Frogmore Cottage, their former Windsor residence.

Prince Harry’s attorneys said this week in a written statement obtained by PEOPLE that RAVEC «should have considered the ‘impact’ that a successful attack on the claimant would have, bearing in mind his status, background, and profile within the royal family—which he was born into and which he will have for the rest of his life.» RAVEC should have considered the implications of a successful assault on the claimant on the UK’s reputation.»

The Home Office stated that RAVEC had evaluated the «likely significant public upset» that would result from something happening to Prince Harry and was aware of the «tragic death» of his mother, Princess Diana, who passed away in a car accident in 1997 after photographers were following her vehicle.

The Home Office, on the other hand, stated that security for Prince Harry and his family would be determined on a case-by-case basis because his situation had «materially changed» because «he would no longer be a working member of the Royal Family and would be living abroad for the majority of the time.»