The Met is to review its protection of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they demanded they keep their £1million-a-year bodyguards despite quitting as full-time royals, it was claimed today.
The armed police provided by Scotland Yard are estimated to cost £600,000 in annual salaries and up to £400,000 in flights, accommodation, expenses and overtime.
Harry, Meghan and Archie each have one officer and are understood to have a team of six protecting the family in any 24-hour period.
A statement on the couple’s website yesterday said they are classified as ‘internationally protected people’ which means they must have an armed security detail anywhere on the globe.
But a senior police source told the Evening Standard: ‘That stays in place for now. But as the circumstances have changed there will now be a full review.
‘If the Sussexes intend to live abroad, and not just carry out international official visits abroad, it will involve far more resources. This will have to be reviewed and signed off by the Commissioner. There is no guarantee it will be granted’.
Royal protection officers drive through Windsor today as it emerged Harry and Meghan want to keep their taxpayer-funded bodyguards despite quitting as senior royals – but the Met could refuse
Meghan’s team including a personal protection officer accompany her yesterday. Security costs the taxpayer in excess of an estimated £100 million a year for the royal family
Who pays for Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle – and how much money do they have?
No one knows how much the grant is worth to Harry and Meghan because it is not published in the Queen’s accounts – but some estimates have placed it at around £2million.
The £82million pot also covers travel costs for royal duties are also covered by the grant. On the royal register, which reveals all claims over £15,000, there are three claims by the couple totalling £130,000.
The £2.4million refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage was also paid for by this pot. More works are pencilled in Windsor Castle’s five-year plan meaning costs could reach £3million.
The government department covers Harry, Meghan and Archie’s 24/7 Met police security – estimated at £600,000-a-year. With overtime, travel and accommodation expenses this would likely reach £1million.
Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall estate
Harry receives up to £2.3million annually from his father’s royal estate.
Harry inherited around £20million from his mother, Princess Diana, who died when he was 12.
The Queen Mother also left him up to £7million.
Much of his cash is tied up in trust funds with some of the money kept from him until his 40th birthday
Meghan has a personal fortune of £4million, mainly from her acting work and property in Canada.
She also earned six-figures each year from blogging, fashion and modelling.
Security costs the taxpayer in excess of an estimated £100million-a-year for the royal family – a Met Police spokesman said today: ‘We never discuss matters of royal security.’
Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down as ‘senior royals’ but demand armed bodyguards could also cause a stink with others including Prince Andrew, who is one behind Harry and Archie in the line of succession but must pay for his family’s personal protection himself.
But because they claim to have resigned their senior royal status, non-senior royals generally don’t have full-time royal protection officers.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie previously faced criticism over the use of taxpayers’ funding for police protection, but the Duke of York now pays for their security himself.
Private protection officers, known as PPOs, are employed to guard their ‘principal’ around the clock. They work in pairs and if the couple are travelling separately or attending separate engagements it will require at least four of them to do the job.
If Harry and Meghan undertake a large amount of cross-continental travel, this will also make the task of their security detail more complex. Any new routes must be scouted out ahead of time by their bodyguards to identify any possible threats.
Any plans to travel among members of the public will also involve additional scrutiny by their security team.
The couple yesterday said that in their new roles they would travel via commercial air carriers, local trains and fuel-efficient vehicles ‘unless advised otherwise on security grounds’.
Armed protection officers are trained in a range of weapons including the 9mm Glock 17 handgun and the Glock 19 pistol.
It would be highly unusual for the British taxpayer to fund an armed security detail for royals based in an overseas country such as Canada, mooted to be the part of North America the couple will choose to live part-time.
When Harry spent time in Toronto when courting Meghan he as protected by Canadian police.
Any new residence of the couple abroad would also need tight security in place.
A passage on their new website, uploaded last night, was posted under the question: ‘Does their future financial autonomy extend to covering the costs of security?’
The answer read: ‘The provision of armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the Home Office, a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government, responsible for security and law & order. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are classified as internationally protected people which mandates this level of security.’
It went on to say that a breakdown of the cost of such a security detail is not available because ‘disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected.’
Armed police patrol outside Windsor Castle, close to Harry and Meghan’s Frogmore Cottage home