‘Harry and Meghan are wrong to expect taxpayers to pay for security’

Prince Harry and Meghan should 'lose citizenship' says Graham

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The couple had claimed that their SAS-trained Scotland Yard bodyguards were withdrawn “at short notice” – while Harry said the Royal Family “literally cut me off financially”. The Prince added he was forced to fund private protection out of a legacy from his mother Diana. Round-the-clock security for the Sussexes and son Archie might cost him £6million a year.

Harry said in their interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey about leaving the UK: “I had to afford security for us. My family cut me off in the first quarter of 2020. I have got what my mum left me, and without that we would not be able to do this.”

Meghan added: “I even wrote letters to his family saying: ‘Please, it’s very clear the protection of me or Archie is not a priority. I accept that, that is fine – please keep my husband safe.

“‘I see the death threats, I see the racist propaganda, please keep him safe, please don’t pull his security and announce to the world when he and we are most vulnerable.’ And they said ‘It’s just not possible’.”

The couple’s response was met with dismay from police and Royal insiders.

An ex-Scotland Yard officer said: “It is astonishingly arrogant of them to presume the taxpayer would pick up the bill for millions of pounds to protect them when they have stepped down as members of the Royal Family, carry out no official duties and live in luxury in a foreign country.”

Sources pointed out that Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, daughters of Harry’s uncle Prince Andrew, had police bodyguards withdrawn in 2011.

Some senior Royals are given close protection teams only for official duties. However Prince Andrew kept his security detail when he stepped aside from royal duties after uproar over his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The multi-million pound bill for guarding the Sussexes and their California mansion might rise further, depending on how often they travel and to which countries. Round-the-clock protection may require as many as 12 bodyguards in shifts.

Harry said the loss of a paid-for protection team was a “shock”, as senior Royal Household staff had agreed there was no reduction in threat to the family.

He added: “I was born into this position. I inherited the risk. So that was a shock to me.” Shortly before the officers were withdrawn last year, the couple made out the case for keeping them.

They said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son.

“This is based on 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 shared threat and risk level.”

Their statement continued: “As the grandson of Her Majesty and second son of The Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex remains sixth in line to the throne.”

Their plea to retain taxpayer-funded police protection clearly failed.

Experts say that security firms can never provide the same level of cover as given by highly trained police, however well-connected their ex-armed forces bosses might be.

Private bodyguards cannot access latest intelligence reports, vital in deciding if the VIP faces an increased threat particularly when abroad. Nor can they make use of the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, a police/NHS unit monitoring stalkers of public figures.

Harry’s replacement guards are ordinary citizens, without law enforcement or military status, so it is unlikely they will be allowed to take guns on flights.

They will also be bound by gun legislation of the countries they visit, unlike police protection officers who usually have permission to carry sidearms.

All this might reduce significantly a private team’s ability to protect VIPs.

Official bodyguards spend a lot of time and money on plans – they fly out ahead of visits to test security and work out “exit strategies” in case of an attack.

One police insider said: “Harry and Meghan must fly first class and stay in first-class accommodation, so their bodyguards have to as well.

“It all adds up to a massive bill.”

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