Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been living outside the UK since November 2019. Then, in March 2020, they decided to step down from being senior members of the Royal Family. Since their dramatic exit, the couple have been at the centre of many rumours. Divorce, arguments, feuds and of course moving house.
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Now in October 2023, the newest rumour is about the fact that Prince Harry is homesick and reportedly house hunting for a property in London. This has, of course, not been addressed by the Sussexes. However, this possible move has a lot of royal watchers and experts on the edge of their seats.
But this relocation has one big issue: the security of the Sussexes and their children.
Prince Harry and Meghan are no longer working royals
When they took the decision to officially step down from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did so with the intention to continue ‘to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.’ The stated goal in their official statement was for the couple to become ‘financially independent’.
However, as we have now seen in the last three years, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not been able to fulfill all of their wishes. Though they may be ‘financially independent’, they are far from being able to serve and ‘fully support’ the monarch. Moreover, their patronages have been stripped.
Stepping away from their senior roles has had major impacts and one of them was due to the deal the couple struck with The Firm. That deal did not allow them to stay on as working royals. That, in itself, led to many lost privileges. In March 2020, the Independent wrote a piece listing six privileges the couple was losing as non working royals.
These included no money from the Sovereign Grant (they wanted to be ‘financially independent’ anyway), they would no longer be protected by the Palace against the publication of paparazzi pictures and their security would no longer be funded by the state.
That last point is crucial in a possible return of the Sussexes to the UK.
The cost of Prince Harry and Meghan’s security
On 7 March 2021, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave an exclusive interview to Oprah Winfrey in which they dropped a few bombshells. Amongst them was the revelation that the Royal Family had left the couple to fend for themselves security-wise.
Following this new information Forbes investigated in order to estimate how much the Duke and Duchess’ security could cost. Their educated guess: ‘$2 to $3 million.’ In order to make this estimation, Forbes interviewed four different security experts. So why is their security so expensive?Forbes answers:
they likely use a combination of guards and electronics to secure their Montecito mansion. But as any Hollywood celebrity will attest, the couple’s security needs extend well beyond the grounds of their 7.4-acre estate.
They’ll need teams to scout out locations ahead of any planned visit and provide vehicles to escort them safely. Security experts likely monitor social media continuously, and stay in touch with local police, to identify threats, and possibly even employ decoys to throw the paparazzi off their trail.
The number hasn’t been confirmed by the Sussexes.
Could Harry and Meghan expect their security to be funded if they return to the UK?
Working members of the Royal Family are protected by the Metropolitan Police wherever they are on the globe. That is an exception; the MET doesn't usually provide security for private individuals.
Speaking on GB News 23 October 2023, royal biographer Angela Levin, claimed that:
He (Prince Harry) can buy a house and he can actually then try and get protection 24/7 because he'll be around, even though he's not actually working [as a royal], at the expense of the taxpayer.
What Levin alleges seems very unlikely. Indeed, as GB News itself states, Prince Harry challenged the removal of his MET police detail in 2022 and tried to privately hire them back but that was denied as it would set a precedent for private individuals to hire the MET.
Moreover, it appears that the Royal Family is not interested in helping the Sussexes move back to the UK so it feels even more impossible for The Firm to fund their security. As far as we are aware, one of the only ways that they could get their funded security back would be by becoming working royals again. One more thing that seems highly unlikely.
If Prince Harry and Meghan were to return to the UK, the more probable outcome would be that they would continue to fund their own security.
Independent: 6 privileges Prince Harry and Meghan Markle no longer have after quitting royal family
Forbes: Cost Of Harry And Meghan’s Security Revealed
GB News: Prince Harry accused of wanting 'free police protection' with UK move
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