Prince Harry will not be traveling to London to attend a service honoring the life of Prince Philip later this month.
The Duke of Sussex’s spokesperson confirmed he would not be attending the March 29 Service of Thanksgiving event at Westminster Abbey. The private event will be used to memorialize the Duke of Edinburgh who died April 2021 at 99 years old.
Prince Philip’s funeral service had a pared-down audience of 30 members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II, and was closed to the public, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Prince Philip’s funeral:Britain mourns death of Queen Elizabeth’s husband
Prince Harry – who lives in California with his wife Meghan Markle and two children Archie, 2, and newborn Lilibet – returned to England for his grandfather’s April funeral and also returned during the summer to see a statue of his mother, Princess Diana, unveiled.
More:Princes Harry, William reunite for late mother Diana’s statue unveiling on her 60th birthday
Harry has expressed hesitation returning to his home country due to security concerns. He is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the British government over whether he and his family will have protection when in the United Kingdom.
The British government says he’s not entitled to taxpayer-funded protection because he’s no longer a working royal, though Harry argues that the threat level against himself and his family remains high.
Harry’s UK security:Prince Harry ‘does not feel safe’ bringing Archie and Lilibet to the UK, lawyers say
Harry wants to be able to pay for the protection, saying his private security team in the US doesn’t have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information.
During a February hearing at the High Court in London, Harry’s lawyer, Shaheed Fatima, said the prince “does not feel safe when he is in the UK given the security arrangements applied to him.”
“It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart,” she said. “Most of all, this is and will always be, his home.”
A lawyer representing the British government, Robert Palmer, called Harry’s claim “unarguable and unmeritorious.”
Palmer said in a written submission that Harry’s offer to pay for police security was irrelevant because “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis.”
Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY; The Associated Press