- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will face additional security challenges now that the Canadian government will no longer pay for their protection after they step down in April.
- Buckingham Palace has not commented on whether it will pay for the couple’s security.
- According to former royal protection officer Simon Morgan, it’s not an option for the couple to have no security.
- “I don’t believe the threat is going to go away,” Morgan told Insider. “There’s a peak in people’s interest in what the royal family is doing at the moment.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Now that the Canadian government has said it will stop paying for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security, the couple will face a whole new set of challenges regarding their protection.
Government officials confirmed the country has been paying for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s protection since they arrived in November, however this will cease “in keeping with their change in status.”
As part of new negotiations with the Queen, the couple will no longer use their HRH titles and will completely step back from all royal duties, starting from April.
However, a spokesperson for the palace said they do not plan to comment “on the details of security arrangements” for the couple.
“There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security,” they added.
There has been debate on whether the couple should be able to continue using royal protection officers, since they are sourced by the Metropolitan Police and funded by the British taxpayer.
Alternatively, security could be provided by a private firm.
One person who knows the ins and outs of royal protection is Simon Morgan, who worked as a bodyguard to members of the royal family from 2007 until 2013.
Morgan, who now works as the Director of Operations and Training at private security firm Trojan Consultancy, said the couple could pay for private security. However, it may be challenging, not to mention expensive, to find a firm experienced enough to protect former members of the royal family.
‘Not many people have experience dealing with members of the royal family’
Morgan noted that while “a royal protection officer will have up to six months training” when transitioning from the police, those in the private sector “only have to do a two-week course.”
“There’s a lot that goes into creating a protection officer of that level,” Morgan said.
“If done correctly, it’s expensive. Protection done well is a lifestyle choice. Not many people have experience dealing with members of the royal family.
“It’s not as though any old private security company could work for them, they wouldn’t have the experience or contacts to work at their level.”
Nonetheless, Morgan notes Harry and Markle wouldn’t be the first non-working royals to do this. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – who both have regular careers outside of the royal family – have private security paid for by the Duke of York.
However, Morgan says it’s not an option for the couple to have no security
“I don’t believe the threat is going to go away,” he said. “The threat will remain constant.
“There’s a peak in people’s interest in what the royal family is doing at the moment.
“In regards to political and religious terrorism, the threat remains the same [as before]. However, day-to-day threat in regards to intrusion – whether that be from ordinary people or the media – may increase.”
Intrusion is something members of the royal family deal with on a regular basis. In May last year, it was announced that Prince Harry won a lawsuit against Splash News, after the agency used a helicopter to fly over the couple’s home and take photos of their living room, dining room, and even their bedroom.
A man even managed to break in to the Queen’s bedroom in Buckingham Palace back in 1982.
Michael Fagan scaled the palace’s 14-foot high wall before entering the building through an open window in what was later described as “one of the 20th century’s worst royal security breaches,” according to the Express.
He then found his way to the Queen’s bedroom and sat on the edge of her bed. Her Majesty, who was inside the room, was able to contact security and Fagan was ultimately arrested.
Morgan added: “I don’t believe for one minute they will stop having protection … what that model will look like is difficult to say.
“Based on the threat and risk scenario, we have two former senior members of the royal family – people who are internationally recognized.
“They are very well known people, the duke is a war veteran, and you have the threat that could be somewhat heightened now. People’s desire to find out what they’re doing has increased, and people who wish to do them harm.”
However, the UK could potentially still foot the bill
Buckingham Palace has not commented on whether it will provide security for the couple from April.
Harry and Markle said they will still “require effective security” on their Sussex Royal website, however they did not confirm if British taxpayers would continue to pay for this.
“It is agreed that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son,” the statement on their website read.
“This is based on The Duke’s public profile by virtue of being born into The Royal Family, his military service, the Duchess’ own independent profile, and the shared threat and risk level documented specifically over the last few years. No further details can be shared as this is classified information for safety reasons.”
Morgan said: “Until things get ironed out, it’s difficult to say where the protection package will sit, and who will pay for it.
“There is a lot of unanswered questions. The delivery of a protection package overseas is not unusual – the UK’s prime minister will have holidays overseas where they have protection officers deployed.”