Royal experts have criticised Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ‘unsustainable’ security plans and warned costs could ‘spiral out of control’ as the predicted bill rocketed to £20million a year.
Experts claimed the couple’s jet-set lifestyle and move to Canada could leave the police unable to cope as they undertake trips to various countries in order to establish their own brand away from the British Monarchy.
Royal author Phil Dampier told MailOnline: ‘The cost of security was always going to be a major problem for Harry and Meghan and it doesn’t surprise me that the bill seems to be going up and up.
‘The travelling they do around North America is going to put an immense strain on resources as both they and their son Archie need to be protected 24/7 and Scotland Yard detectives will tend to work shifts of two weeks on two weeks off.
‘If you add the costs of them having to travel to and from the UK for leave it could spiral out of control and become absolutely ridiculous. So in the long term I don’t think it is sustainable.’
Taxpayers currently pay £600,000 for the Sussexes’ team of royal protection officers, with previous forecasts suggesting the bill could rise to between £3million and £6million when they move abroad.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are pictured above earlier this month. It is said that costs to keep the couple safe are continuing to soar
Harry, Meghan and their son Archie (above) have all been in different places in recent months which is said to have added to their security costs
Harry and Meghan’s travels this year and where they are expected to be going in March
Mr Dampier, author of Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan in Their Own Words, said questions were also being raised in Canada.
‘Even the Canadians who are welcoming hosts are starting to query the costs to their police force of protecting them,’ he said.
‘I think it’s a massive headache and if they are not going to be doing duties in the UK it’s extremely hard to justify.’
Speaking to The Mirror, Dai Davies, former Met protection officer said their situation has called for a ‘complete ripping up of the rule book’.
‘In their current state the plans are unworkable.
‘There is already a severe lack of trained officers and this is only adding to the Met’s woes.’
The couple insisted in their statement last week that they need security ‘to protect them and their son’ amid controversy surrounding protection costs
Harry Meghan and their son Archie have been in different locations over the last few months and officers are believed to be drafting new plans to double their protection team.
They have previously been criticised for their carbon-heavy jet-set lifestyle despite frequently flaunting their eco credentials.
In a statement last week Prince Harry and Meghan said they ‘will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son.’
They sparked fury by insisting the taxpayer should cough up ‘based on the Duke’s public profile by virtue of being born a royal, his military service, the Duchess’s independent profile.’
Harry and Meghan’s security bill could soar to £20 million a year, sparking anger and a row over who will foot the bill.
The couple had also previously taken security measures at the property they were staying at in Canada (above)
Now an internal memo seen by The Mirror has revealed that there is a staffing crisis within the team that supports the Royals and that Scotland Yard is facing increasing demand from them.
It calculated that estimations of £3million to £6million a year were ‘inadequate’ and that Harry and Meghan would need at least 12 protection officers, who earn salaries of £106,000.
It is believed to have stated that the Met has been told to deliver the calculations to the Government and that costs could reach £20 million.
The couple still require effective security for their young family and they had previously sparked fury after it was revealed they insisted the UK tax payer should still splurge on their safety.
The couple married in 2018 and earlier this year they announced they would be stepping back from their royal duties
Security sources last night said that there is ‘no agreement or concrete plan’ in place when it comes to who will actually fund their security team.
Labour MP Stephen Doughty said he supported the couple’s choice to embark on a more private life but added that questions over costs needed to be addressed.
His comments come as cuts have been made to local police forces up and down the country, leaving many towns and cities struggling to police their respective areas.
It has been estimated that costs for their security include a £5 million bill for officers stationed at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor while the couple reside in the UK.
They are due to officially leave the British Monarchy on March 31.
The Met said they were unable to discuss matters of protective security. The palace has been contacted for comment.
Harry and Meghan’s statement on their website in full
AS AGREED AND SET OUT IN JANUARY 2020:
It is agreed that the commencement of the revised role of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will take effect Spring 2020 and undergo a 12 month review. The Royal Family respect and understand the wish of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to live a more independent life as a family, by removing the supposed ‘public interest’ justification for media intrusion into their lives. They remain a valued part of Her Majesty’s family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will become privately funded members of The Royal Family with permission to earn their own income and the ability to pursue their own private charitable interests. The preference of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex was to continue to represent and support Her Majesty The Queen albeit in a more limited capacity, while not drawing on the Sovereign Grant.While there is precedent for other titled members of the Royal Family to seek employment outside of the institution, for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a 12-month review period has been put in place. Per the agreement The Duke and Duchess of Sussex understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties and not undertake representative duties on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. As agreed and set out in January, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will retain their “HRH” prefix, thereby formally remaining known as His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer actively use their HRH titles as they will no longer be working members of the family as of Spring 2020. 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 of The British Monarchy and the Order of Precedence is unchanged. It was agreed that The Duke and Duchess will no longer be able to formally carry out ‘official duties’ for The Queen or represent The Commonwealth, but they will, however, be allowed to maintain their patronages (including those that are classified as ‘royal’ patronages). It is agreed that 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’ 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.In relation to the military, The Duke of Sussex will retain the rank of Major, and honorary ranks of Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader. During this 12-month period of review, The Duke’s official military appointments will not be used as they are in the gift of the Sovereign. No new appointments will be made to fill these roles before the 12-month review of the new arrangements is completed. While per the agreement, The Duke will not perform any official duties associated with these roles, given his dedication to the military community and ten years of service he will of course continue his unwavering support to the military community in a non-official capacity. As founder of the Invictus Games, The Duke will proudly continue supporting the military community around the world through the Invictus Games Foundation and The Endeavour Fund. Based on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s desire to have a reduced role as members of The Royal Family, it was decided in January that their Institutional Office would have to be closed, given the primary funding mechanism for this official office at Buckingham Palace is from HRH The Prince of Wales. The Duke and Duchess shared this news with their team personally in January once they knew of the decision, and have worked closely with their staff to ensure a smooth transition for each of them. Over the last month and a half, The Duke and Duchess have remained actively involved in this process, which has understandably been saddening for The Duke and Duchess and their loyal staff, given the closeness of Their Royal Highnesses and their dedicated team. As The Duke and Duchess will no longer be considered full-time working Members of The Royal Family, it was agreed that use of the word ‘Royal’ would need to be reviewed as it pertains to organisations associated with them in this new regard. More details on this below.