A federal judge in Washington, DC will hear a conservative think tank’s organisation appeal to unseal Prince Harry’s US immigration records in June.
Nile Gardner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, tweeted on Tuesday that a hearing on his organisation’s suit will be heard on 6 June and be open to the press.
If a judge agrees to unseal the immigration records, it could have significant implications for Prince Harry’s legal status: in his autobiography, the British royal family member detailed his past drug use — even though past drug use can be grounds to deny a visa application in the US.
When Prince Harry filled out his US visa application, he was likely asked about his past drug use. The Heritage Foundation wants to know, given the revelations in his book, how he responded.
So far, they’ve had little success obtaining access to the visa records to tell them whether Prince Harry either lied on his application or whether he told the truth about his past drug use and was granted perferential treatment when his application was approved anyway.
The Heritage Foundation had previously requested that the application be made public in an expedited manner under the Freedom of Information Act, but a court denied that request on the grounds that Prince Harry’s 2020 move to California did not raise significant enough questions about governmental integrity to warrant the unsealing of the records.
The Heritage Foundation then appealed to the US District Court for the District of Columbia, where a judge has reportedly agreed to hear their case.
Prince Harry married the American actor Meghan Markle in 2018 and eventually moved to the US two years later, purchasing a home in the small, affluent Southern California town of Montecito. The move came after Ms Markle, who is biracial and Black, clashed repeatedly with members of the British press.
Ms Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as active members of the Royal Family around the time they moved to the US, when, presumably, the Duke of Sussex was granted a visa. People moving to the US are often initially granted a three-year visa, which means that Prince Harry may have to apply for another visa this year and possibly answer questions again about his drug use.
Prince Harry is currently involved in another high-profile legal battle in the UK as one of the plantiffs suing the Mirror Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, over allegations of phone-hacking.