Taxpayers look set to keep paying £7.6million-a-year security bill for Harry and Meghan

It seems the taxpayer will continue to pay Prince Harry and Meghan’s £7.6million-a-year security bill, even though the couple have dropped their HRH titles.  

There has been a growing row about who will pick up the couple’s annual security bill as they split their time between the UK and Canada

And Buckingham Palace’s bombshell announcement this evening didn’t directly address the issue. 

Meghan's team including a personal protection officer accompany her in London. Security costs the taxpayer in excess of an estimated £100 million a year for the royal family

Meghan's team including a personal protection officer accompany her in London. Security costs the taxpayer in excess of an estimated £100 million a year for the royal family

Meghan’s team including a personal protection officer accompany her in London. Security costs the taxpayer in excess of an estimated £100 million a year for the royal family

The statement read: ‘Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. 

‘There are well-established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.’

Now a security expert has warned it could cost as much as £7.6million annually.

Chris Matthews, formerly of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and who worked in the protection of visitors to Canada such as the Royal Family, has estimated the security measures required for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be similar to those of the Prime Minister.

Meghan is whisked away by a police protection officer during a visit to Fiji in October 2018

Meghan is whisked away by a police protection officer during a visit to Fiji in October 2018

Meghan is whisked away by a police protection officer during a visit to Fiji in October 2018

But he warned, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Canada’s biggest newspaper, that security would be more costly as they would have to set it up from scratch.

He said: ‘They need personal body guards all the time. You have to pay those peoples’ salaries. You’ve got to pay for the vehicles they travel in and the aircraft they travel in. You have to pay for the communications equipment they require because it has to be sophisticated so that you can’t listen to it.’

Mr Matthews also warned that their residence would need to have fences installed, alongside CCTV and alarms – adding to the cost of their security. 

Canadian President Justin Trudeau has assured the Queen that the family will be safe while in his country, with Canada expected to pay around half of an estimated £1million ($1.3million) annual bill – a figure based on the cost of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s current UK security bill.

His comments come as The Globe and Mail also, in a scathing editorial, slammed the Royal couple of thinking they could split their time between the countries.

During Harry and Meghan's South Africa trip a fleet of armoured Land Rover Discovery's was shipped out for the official visit because vehicles that met their requirements could not be found locally

During Harry and Meghan's South Africa trip a fleet of armoured Land Rover Discovery's was shipped out for the official visit because vehicles that met their requirements could not be found locally

During Harry and Meghan’s South Africa trip a fleet of armoured Land Rover Discovery’s was shipped out for the official visit because vehicles that met their requirements could not be found locally

It said: ‘Canada is not a halfway house for anyone looking to get out of Britain while remaining a royal.’

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted before Christmas that Harry, Meghan and eight-month-old Archie ‘were among friends, and always welcome here’.    

There is an ongoing Whitehall review into who gets armed protection from the Metropolitan Police, with the threat assessment judged by the Royal and VIP Executive Committee led by independent retired official Sir Richard Mottram. 

Sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Security Minister Brandon Lewis and Home Secretary Priti Patel have stressed the importance of continued – if reduced – protection for the pair. 

The Duke and Duchess posted a brand new web page which detailed all of the changes which would now take place - but they admit that because of their royal titles they will require taxpayer-funded protection wherever they live

The Duke and Duchess posted a brand new web page which detailed all of the changes which would now take place - but they admit that because of their royal titles they will require taxpayer-funded protection wherever they live

The Duke and Duchess posted a brand new web page which detailed all of the changes which would now take place – but they admit that because of their royal titles they will require taxpayer-funded protection wherever they live 

Yet the couple may have their security downgraded with protection squad officers armed only with tasers instead of guns.

The ‘range of possibilities’ have been drawn up by royal courtiers and government officials for the Queen, William, Charles and Harry to review. 

The Sussexes will be told their protection team is likely to be scaled back if they take part in fewer Royal events.

The security level for Royals is increased due to the fact that their engagements are published in advance, leading to a greater threat.

There has been a growing row about who will pick up Harry and Meghan's annual security bill as they split their time between the UK and Canada (the couple are pictured last week)

There has been a growing row about who will pick up Harry and Meghan's annual security bill as they split their time between the UK and Canada (the couple are pictured last week)

There has been a growing row about who will pick up Harry and Meghan’s annual security bill as they split their time between the UK and Canada (the couple are pictured last week)

However it is understood that the Metropolitan Police is keen to see the number of Royals and Ministers receiving the protection scaled back due to concerns about the spiralling security budget. 

Nearly three quarters of Canadians do not want to pay for Prince Harry and Meghan’s move to the country or to pay for their security arrangements, a new poll has found.

Seven-in-ten (73 per cent) said that they would prefer Canada not pitch in any money. For one-in-five (19 per cent), some cost sharing is appropriate, while only a handful of Canadians would willingly pay for all costs (3 per cent).

The survey was conducted was conducted from January 13-14 this year by a randomized sample of 1,154 Canadian adults.

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