Judges Rule Against Public Disclosure of UK Royals’ Security Expenses

Judges Rule Against Public Disclosure of UK Royals' Security Expenses
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London (Parliament News) – Judges ruled against disclosing the security costs of UK royals, citing potential security risks. The decision upholds secrecy, stating that revealing expenses could endanger the royal family’s safety.

Judges on a freedom of information tribunal have judged that the cost of protecting members of the royal family cannot be disclosed to the public. The two judges drove their decision after hearing detailed proof behind closed doors from a senior Home Office official. They ruled that this secretiveness prevented them from demonstrating in their public judgment fully why they had obtained the official’s evidence.

What Led Judges to Deny Disclosure of Royal Security?

The judges Lynn Griffin and Jo Swaney denied an attempt by the Guardian to establish how much of taxpayers’ money was paid on protecting the Windsors. They concluded that broadcasting the overall bill for providing protection, such as armed bodyguards and patrols at royal homes, could facilitate would-be attackers.

How Did Judges Justify Keeping Royals’ Security Costs Secret?

Their decision represents the bill for protecting the royal family – thought to operate into tens of millions a year – will remain an official secret. It also suggests that without knowing the figure for this bill, it is in effect inconceivable for the public to know the total cost of funding the monarchy.

During the two-day tribunal last November, which encompassed private and open sessions, the Guardian argued that a combined formation for the cost of providing security for the royal family between 2017 and 2020 would improve public debate about the cost of the monarchy.

The media group claimed that the figure would be so broad that it would not allow anyone who may potentially attack the royal family. The Guardian expressly did not seek an analysis of how the money was spent or how much was expended on individual members of the Windsor family.

What Risks Did Judges Associate with Revealing Royal Security Costs?”

The judges set out the full explanations for their decision in a confidential ruling, which was sent to the Home Office but not the Guardian. The judges contended that “in the interests of open justice, we have nonetheless aimed to include as much detail as possible” in the public ruling.

They figured that the Home Office’s arguments in favour of continuing secrecy were “well-founded” because potential killers or attackers could be emboldened. “The consequence of this is that their confidence in their capacity to carry out a successful attack is raised, rightly or wrongly, and it is this advanced level of confidence that gives rise to the real danger of the potential hostile actor in fact carrying out an attack,” they said.

Why Did Judges Find the Home Office’s Secrecy Justified?

The judges added that the “credible” proof given by the Home Office witness – Thomas Rutherford, the leader of the royalty VIP and MP security unit – in private, as well in public, convinced them of the gravity of this risk. Rutherford had been enabled to give evidence in private, which the Home Office expressed was necessary to safeguard national security. The Guardian was equipped with a gist of the closed session but was not allowed to attend.

The Guardian claimed that similar information for the total invoice of protecting British MPs and the US president was routinely issued. The judges disregarded this argument, saying these comparisons were not useful, after accepting evidence given in secret by Rutherford. The judges said their discharge of this argument was based on his secret proof and could not be explained in public.

The monarchy is supported mainly through a mechanism known as sovereign funding, which stands at £86m and is due to increase next year by 45% to £125m. This, however, does not include the security bill

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the Il24.it circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.