The letter was submitted on Friday as part of evidence in Prince Harry's libel case against a U.K. newspaper
The late Queen said that it was “imperative” that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “continue to be provided with effective security” against “extremists” in a letter from the palace written on her behalf, provided as evidence in the High Court amid Harry’s current libel lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday newspaper, according to a new report from The Sunday Times.
The letter, written by the Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young, was sent to U.K. cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, following the Sandringham Summit held by the Queen in January 2020, per the outlet. The gathering of royal family members at the Queen's country home of Sandringham, Norfolk, was famously held to discuss Prince Harry and Meghan's future, after they announced their intentions to step down from royal duties on Jan. 8.
“You will understand well that ensuring that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain safe is of paramount importance to Her Majesty and her family,” the letter read.
“Given the duke’s public profile by virtue of being born into the royal family, his military service, the duchess’s own independent profile and the well-documented history of targeting of the Sussex family by extremists, it is imperative that the family continues to be provided with effective security.”
The letter was offered up as part of new evidence in a three-day hearing in London this week over Harry’s libel case against the Mail on Sunday.
The Duke is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, for libel over a 2022 article about his security arrangements as he alleges that it was “an attack on his honesty and integrity," per The Sunday Times.
According to The Sunday Times, evidence presented this week has raised questions as to whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's financial support from the royal family stopped after they decided to step down from their royal duties and move to America.
According to a BBC report, The Mail on Sunday claims that Prince Harry did not offer to pay for police protection after the Sandringham Summit, as the Duke’s legal team argued, and only pitched the idea after initiating the claim for a judicial review.
However, on Friday, Harry ultimately lost his attempt to have the Mail on Sunday's defense of his libel lawsuit dismissed as Justice Matthew Nicklin concluded that the Duke of Sussex’s lawsuit should go to trial.
In a separate case also related to his security in his home country, Harry is also challenging the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) over their decision to remove his police security in the U.K. following he and Meghan’s departure as working royals in February 2020.
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, in particular, the impact on the U.K.’s reputation of a successful attack on the claimant."
During the hearing this week, Harry spoke about wanting his children "to feel at home" in his native country, which hasn’t been able to happen with “no possibility to keep them safe when they are on U.K. soil."
The Duke, who did not appear in court, said in a statement shared by his lawyers that he "felt forced" to step back from his royal duties with wife Meghan, 42, and leave the U.K. in 2020 with son Prince Archie, now 4, to set up their new home in the U.S.
"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 said in the statement, according to ITV. "The U.K. is my home. The U.K. 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 U.K. soil."
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"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,” he added.
The U.K. Home Office said that security for Prince Harry and his family should be decided on a case-by-case basis because "he would no longer be a working member of the Royal Family and would be living abroad for the majority of the time."
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