If Meghan Markle and Prince Harry decide it's safe enough for them to visit the U.K., they may end up paying a lot of money for their own security, royal expert Richard Aitch noted.
“It’s very difficult to put a figure exactly on it,” the director of operations for Mobius International Security told Us Weekly. “The cost for a personal protection officer from the [Metropolitan Police] has been estimated to be around £100,000 a year.”
Aitch noted that the cost could change over time, as flights, accommodations and their children — Archie, 2, and Lilibet, 7 months — also play a key role when adding things up. “What may appear as a wish on paper is far more in reality, and the costs can certainly be quite huge,” he said.
Earlier this month, the red-headed prince threatened to take action against the U.K. government, as he wants security when he returns home, in order to protect his children and wife. (When he left the royal family, he had to pay for security out of his own pocket.)
Going forward, a royal committee with gather and come to a conclusion. “This committee decides on who receives protection by the police, and if they do receive it, what capacity does appear,” Aitch said. “Their responsibility is to make a determination on security provision to members of parliament, such as the prime minister, the foreign office minister, the home secretary and so on, in addition to members of the royal family.”
Since Harry decided to leave the royal family, he is no longer required to get protection.
“At the end of the day, the members of royal family provide a service to the people. They have loyal duties to undertake, and by virtue of that, the U.K. taxpayer then funds the protection for that service,” Aitch shared. “He has relinquished his royal duties, he no longer provides a service to the U.K. people, right? And therefore in the eyes of the government, the question is why then should the U.K. taxpayer pay and fund his personal security? … And that his fully understandable.”
“The subject of cost shouldn’t be focused on whether [or] how he provides a service to the people or not alone. By virtue of the fact that he is a senior member of the royal family, he is exposed to a wide variety of serious threats, and the risks to those threats have increased since his departure from the royal family,” Aitch added. “The fact he no longer receives police protection [means] his risk to threats have certainly spiked.”
In a statement, Harry said: "Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life," a statement began. "He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats. While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family."