Some Royal Family members receive no or partial security while others get 24/7 taxpayer-funded guards, it was revealed today after Prince Harry and
Senior royals carried out 3,567 engagements in 2019 – including 295 by the Queen, 521 by Charles, 194 by Camilla, 220 by William and 126 by Kate. In the same year, Harry did 201 and Meghan carried out 83 – while Anne did 506.
Other royals including the Queen’s granddaughters Zara Tindall, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie do not have state-funded security, while
Beatrice and Eugenie’s security is no longer paid for by the British taxpayer, despite them being princesses and grandchildren of the monarch, because they are not working royals and have full-time jobs instead.
Beatrice and Eugenie had police protection costing £500,000 until 2011 when this was removed amid a row over the cost, with the Queen having made it clear that she expected them to pursue their own careers after university.
Princess Diana also famously jettisoned her police protection team in 1993 after her divorce from Charles – despite the Metropolitan Police making efforts to get her to change her mind before she died in Paris in August 1997.
The budget on air travel for royal bodyguards hit £4.6million in 2018-19, while their hotel stays cost £2million in 2017-18. Anti-monarch group Republic estimates that taxpayers foot a £106million annual bill on royal security.
It comes after Harry’s assumption that taxpayers would pay for their security after the Sussexes left the UK was branded ‘arrogant’ and ‘unworkable’ by an expert after he spoke about the issue in the Oprah Winfrey interview.
The Duke of Sussex said in the chat, shown on ITV on Monday, that he had to cut deals with Spotify and Netflix after his family cut him off financially and stripped his security, forcing him to foot the multi-million bill himself.
This graphic shows how the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate all get round-the-clock protection – while Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Sophie are guarded only when on official duties and engagements
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke to Oprah Winfrey in a bombshell interview which was first aired on CBS on Sunday
But in reality the couple, who now live in Montecito, California, had moved to a country where their royal protection officers would have been legally unable to carry out their duties and therefore their lives could have been put at risk as British officers cannot carry guns under US laws or access intelligence about potential threats.
And if an officer harmed someone in the course of protecting the Sussexes, they could have found themselves facing an expensive lawsuit or even criminal charges as they had no legal basis to operate in a foreign country.
Protection received by Royal Family members
FULL 24/7 PROTECTION
- Queen (295)
- William (220)
- Kate (126)
- Charles (521)
- Camilla (194)
PROTECTION ON OFFICIAL DUTIES
- Anne (506)
- Edward (308)
- Sophie (236)
- Andrew (274)
- Harry (201)
- Meghan (83)
Numbers denote 2019 engagements for best comparison due to pandemic in 2020
The level of protection given to royals is based on a threat assessment conducted by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, reported The Times.
The JTAC gathers intelligence from security services in Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – known as the ‘Five Eyes partnership’ – and then makes recommendations to to the Royal and VIP Executive Committee, which is chaired by former civil servant Sir Richard Mottram.
Scotland Yard provides automatic protection to only the most senior royals and members of the Government, but the force will also give protection for any individual who faces a big enough risk, according to the newspaper.
Meghan claimed in the bombshell interview that she was told her son Archie would not receive security because he would not be a prince.
Harry also told Oprah: ‘I never thought that I would have my security removed, because I was born into this position. I inherited the risk. So that was a shock to me. That was what completely changed the whole plan.’
But those familiar with royal protection have criticised both claims, with one police source telling The Times: ‘If you cease to be a royal, you lose your HRH and you go to another country like America, your threat level is going to reduce quite considerably because basically, who wants to kill you?
‘You’re not a royal. It still will exist – there still will be a threat against Meghan and Harry but it won’t be high. And the threat against their children is non-existent so the notion that her son should get protection just because they were born to Meghan and Harry is nonsense, really.’
Dai Davies, a former chief superintendent who led the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection unit, said that Harry and Meghan’s plans for royal protection after they moved to North America were ‘utterly unrealistic’ and could have put British police officers at risk.
Donald Trump, the then US president, made it clear they would have no US-funded secret service bodyguards shortly after the couple moved to California from Canada last March.
He tweeted: ‘Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the US will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!’
Russell Stuart, a former California State Guard officer turned celebrity bodyguard, pointed out that Harry and Meghan had increased their threat level by moving from Vancouver: ‘This is America. We’re a nation of gun owners, we’ve got a lot of weapons. We’re ten times the population of Canada. California is a much bigger place, it’s more dangerous, you have a lot more potential threats than back in Vancouver.’
Initially when they went to Canada, the couple’s royal protection officers were given assistance by Canadian mounties, but this was only ever intended as an interim measure until other arrangements could be made.
Meghan is led away from a market in Fiji in October 2018 with her police protection officer amid a heavy security presence
Prince Harry is accompanied by a security team as he arrives at Edinburgh Waverley train station in February last year
Harry said they were told on ‘short notice’ that their Met police security detail would be cut off. ‘Their justification was a change in status,’ the Duke said, which he ‘pushed back’ at.
What is the George V convention and why do 104-year-old rules mean Archie was not entitled to be an HRH or a prince?
King George V and Queen Mary after his 1911 coronation
In 1917, the Queen’s grandfather issued new letters patent that limited the number of royal family members with an HRH title.
These stated that ‘the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour’.
This means that when Prince Charles become King, his grandchildren – including Archie – will all automatically become princes or princesses.
It was also decreed that ‘grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line … shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms’ (i.e., Lord or Lady before their Christian name).’
In addition the letters stated ‘save as aforesaid the style title or attribute of Royal Highness, Highness or Serene Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess shall not henceforth be assumed or borne by any descendant of any Sovereign of these Realms.
But effectively when their senior royal status officially ended at the end of March last year, they were on their own.
The Canadian Government confirmed it would stop providing security assistance to the family ‘in keeping with their change in status’.
This week Mr Davies, said he was ‘gobsmacked’ the couple expected British taxpayers to pick up the bill. Aside from the legal and practical difficulties of protecting a royal living abroad, the financial burden would have been huge.
The cost of a close protection team and static security at events was estimated at more than £1million a year when officers’ salary, overtime payments, overseas allowance, pensions, flights and accommodation costs were added up.
An armed team made up of at least six people including a principal personal protection officer and back up close protection officers accompanied the family at all times.
They work in pairs and if the couple travelled separately or attended separate engagements it required at least four of them to do the job as they work on relay shift patterns.
Many of the Scotland Yard officers who protected them had families in the UK and it would have been unfair to expect them to travel back and forth.
Such a vast expense would have been untenable at a time when Scotland Yard had already nearly doubled its flight budget to cover the escalating cost of protecting of globe-trotting Royals on official visits and holidays in 2019.
When Harry and Meghan first announced they were breaking from the Royal Family, a statement appeared on their website saying they were classified as ‘internationally protected people which mandates this level of security.’
But hours later, the phrase ‘internationally protected people’ disappeared as it quickly transpired that would never be the case.
Following their move, a joint committee made up of the Home Secretary, the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection command chief, and palace officials decided their 24-hour protection could not continue now they were no longer working royals living in the UK.
On Monday, Mr Davies said: ‘It shows you their naivety and sense of entitlement. ‘It was utterly unrealistic to think they could continue to have their royal protection team working in America, in fact it would have put their lives at risk.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex introduce their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Windsor Castle in May 2019
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan hold Archie in Cape Town while visiting on a royal visit to South Africa in September 2019
‘There is a reciprocal agreement in place with the US for occasions like official state visits, but British officers couldn’t just carry on working there, unable to bear firearms and with no access to integrated intelligence from the security services. It was unworkable.
Former chief superintendent Dai Davies, who led the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection unit, described the couple’s hopes of security in the US ‘unworkable’
‘Other royals and their children do without protection. They aren’t working members of the Royal Family, why should they have it? It was simply arrogant to presume they and their baby would get protection..’
Meghan said she and Harry wanted Archie to be a prince so he would have security and be protected, and she suggested he was not given the title because of his race.
But Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.
He will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne.
At the time of his birth, a royal source said Harry and Meghan had decided he should be a regular Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. But Meghan told Oprah this was not correct, adding: ‘It was not our decision to make.’
Yet Harry had always previously stressed the importance of wanting to be seen as normal, and he was thought to have wanted to give his baby the opportunities of an ordinary life that he never had, without the burden of being a prince.
He once said he was always more comfortable being Captain Wales in the Army than being Prince Harry.
As the first-born son of a duke, Archie was actually entitled to have become Earl of Dumbarton – one of Harry’s subsidiary titles – or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
But a source said after Archie was born in May 2019: ‘They have chosen not to use a courtesy title.’
Being a prince or princess does not automatically mean royals have police protection. But as a full-time working royal, Harry and his family would have been entitled to 24-hour security by Metropolitan Police protection officers.
Final decisions are taken by the Home Office, in consultation with Buckingham Palace. In recent years, the royal family has shifted towards a slimmed-down monarchy, focusing on those at the top of the line of succession.
Archie, who will move down the succession list if the Cambridge children have their own families, was never expected to be playing a key role in royal duties when older.
When Harry and Meghan quit as senior working royals and moved to the US, it changed the situation.
The prospect of the couple and their son living permanently in the US and not carrying out royal duties, but also having Metropolitan Police protection officers, paid for by British taxpayers, at their side was untenable.
But the royal family could have agreed to foot their security bill privately, and used a private firm.
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