Prince Harry has waged several legal battles with the British press since stepping down from royal duties in 2020
The Duke of Sussex Prince Harry risks losing his U.S. visa after he talked about his past drug use in his memoir "Spare." AFP News

Prince Harry's U.S. visa application is the subject of legal contention between a conservative think tank and the Department of Homeland Security as the latter has refused to release his records over privacy concerns. But if granted by the court to publicise his application, then the royal risks facing perjury if it's shown that he lied about his drug use.

The Duke of Sussex admitted in his memoir "Spare" that he took cannabis, magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and cocaine during his wild partying days. It is unclear if he mentioned his past drug use when he applied for entry to the U.S.A. But the Heritage Foundation is determined to find out if he lied on his application, or told the truth but was given special treatment because he is royalty.

The foundation argued in court that the 38-year-old's visa application is now a matter of public interest after he candidly talked about his drug use in "Spare." Nile Gardiner, director of the Heritage Foundation's Thatcher Center for Freedom, said that he was there during the first Federal Court hearing in Washington D.C. and that it "was a 75-minute hearing, very detailed and the federal judge is treating this case very seriously."

He told Newsweek that it is "100 percent" possible that they could win the case explaining, "I do think that The Heritage Foundation has a very good chance of winning this because this is a matter of transparency and accountability. It goes to the heart of whether Immigration law is being applied and enforced by U.S. authorities and so there are big issues at stake here and the Biden Administration has been very dismissive in its approach."

Gardiner claimed "the stakes are very high" for Prince Harry if the Department of Homeland Security loses and his records are released. He called it "telling in a way" that President Joe Biden's administration is "doing all it can to stop the release."

He said of the royal's visa application, "If it's revealed you lied on a federal form that is perjury and that's a criminal offence. And so yeah, so it is a very high stakes case."

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has also since denied the Heritage Foundation access to Prince Harry's visa application, citing privacy concerns. In a letter to the foundation filed as evidence at Federal Court in D.C., the office reasoned that the group "did not provide sufficient public interest to outweigh the Duke of Sussex's right to privacy concerning his entry and exit records."

The CBP wrote that "without an individual's consent or an overriding public interest, providing the Duke's entry and exit records would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Gardiner blasted the office's privacy reasons as "ridiculous" pointing out that Prince Harry "is a very big public figure in America" who has "gone on the record on several issues" about the country.

He again reiterated his belief that the Heritage Foundation has a "very good chance" of winning the case because of the "very strong public interest in the release of the records."

"The Biden presidency, the Department of Homeland Security again reiterated their position I think just about three days ago, saying that this is an issue of privacy for Prince Harry even though he's written a best-selling book outlining all his drug use, he's given multiple interviews etcetera," he said.

Prince Harry risks losing his U.S. visa or getting deported if it is found out that he did not declare his past drug use in his application. Having a history of illegal substance abuse does not permit an applicant entry to the country. The Duke of Sussex moved to California in 2020 after he and his wife, Meghan Markle, left their royal duties in the U.K. They now live in their Montecito mansion in Santa Barbara with their children Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2.