Harry and Meghan's '£4million a year' security bill
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ‘£4million a year’ security bill: Couple face astonishing cost for new life in California after quitting UK… as they finally ditch ‘Sussex Royal’ brand and hire new chief of staff who worked for Melinda Gates
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to meet the burden met by British taxpayers
- Unclear whether they will use Met Police officers and reimburse Scotland Yard
- Alternatively, they would have to employ their own private security team in US
- Prince Charles will pay for Harry and Meghan for first 12 months of their new life
Harry and Meghan have agreed to pay for the cost of their security personally, the Mail can reveal – which could cost them £4million a year.
A spokesman for the couple confirmed last night that they had decided to meet the burden met by British taxpayers and fund the cost of their protection out of their own pockets after stepping down as senior working royals.
It isn’t clear whether this means that they will continue to use Metropolitan Police officers and reimburse Scotland Yard for the cost, or whether they employ their own private security team in the US.
Harry and Meghan have agreed to pay for the cost of their security personally, the Mail can reveal – which could cost them £4million a year
Prince Charles will continue to pay for the upkeep of his son and daughter-in-law for the first 12 months of their new life out of his private funds, not the Duchy of Cornwall. But it is understood that this money will not be used for their protection.
A Sussex spokesman said: ‘Security costs are being personally covered by the couple.’
The development suggests that the Sussexes have negotiated a clean break, in which they will now receive no public money, only funding from Prince Charles’s personal fortune until they start to earn an income of their own.
A source said: ‘The Prince of Wales supports them privately but the duke and duchess also have their own money. They are paying for this themselves. The duke has been adamant on that.’
Harry will continue to work with organisations such as WellChild, the RFU and Invictus Games. Pictured: The couple at the games in Toronto in 2017
Prince Charles will continue to pay for the upkeep of his son and daughter-in-law for the first 12 months of their new life out of his private funds
It came as Buckingham Palace made a series of announcements about Harry and Meghan’s future. From tomorrow, they will no longer speak for or represent the couple.
Beverly Hills celebrity bodyguard Russell Stuart, whose firm Force Protection Agency has looked after A-list celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey, estimated that their private security will cost around $5million (£4million) a year.
He said: ‘They will each need between two to four guards with them at all times. Every residence they class as a home will also need to be permanently looked after.
‘They are two of the most famous people on the planet. They will need security now more than ever.’
Meanwhile, the Sussexes closed the door on their royal careers last night with a typically effusive message on Instagram.
Signing off their Sussex Royal social media feed, Harry and Meghan told their 11million followers: ‘Thank you to this community for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world.
‘We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great. Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another. Harry and Meghan.’
Signing off their Sussex Royal social media feed, Harry and Meghan told their 11million followers: ‘Thank you to this community for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world’
After initially insisting that they would ‘collaborate’ with the Queen by adopting a ‘half in, half out’ strategy, the couple concluded by confirming that they would now be scrapping plans for their own royal foundation and closing down their official communication channels.
It was a humiliating climbdown given the grand plans Harry and Meghan first outlined when they announced they would be quitting their royal roles back in January.
Here is how it could play out:
Harry and Meghan say they will spend the next few months ‘focusing on their family’.
They also state they will continue to do what they can – ‘safely and privately’ – to support their pre-existing charitable commitments while developing their own future non-profit organisation. There was no mention of how they would start earning their own money.
They will no longer use this name for their charitable organisation, Instagram or website.
The couple stressed that this was agreed with the Royal Family. But sources have repeatedly told the Mail they had every intention of using it until the Queen and senior aides put their foot down. A spokesman for the couple confirmed from tomorrow, the SussexRoyal Instagram account and website will be suspended.
Sussex Royal Foundation
The major vehicle for the couple’s charitable initiatives, which was in the process of being established in the UK, is being wound up.
After splitting their household and philanthropic work from that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year, the couple had intended for this to be the showcase for their future projects. But after the Queen made clear that the couple would no longer be able to use the word ‘royal’, they were forced back to the drawing board.
This new sustainable tourism initiative led by Prince Harry will now be the focus of their efforts.
Travalyst is a laudable collation of travel industry leaders who want to find ways to make environmentally friendly travel easier, and encourage people to holiday in way that benefits local communities, particularly in the developing world. This will now be established as an independent non-profit organisation, based in the UK.
Harry and Meghan remain ‘committed and supportive’ to their patronages and will continue to work closely with them, their spokesman says. For Meghan this includes The National Theatre and Smart Works, which provides women wanting to get back into work with a new interview outfit and mentoring.
The couple have insisted on keeping Frogmore Cottage as a UK base but have agreed to pay back the £2.4 million of taxpayer money spent on its refurbishment
Harry will continue to work with organisations such as WellChild, the RFU and Invictus Games.
Review at 12 months
This will give both sides the chance to see whether the new arrangements are working.
Sources close to Harry and Meghan insist they will not let the Queen down and are determined to prove to Her Majesty that they can make their new roles work.
They have – finally – officially announced that their PR is being managed by the sharp-elbowed US agency, Sunshine Sachs, who worked with Meghan when she was an actress in TV drama Suits. In reality, it has been managed by them for many months.
There was no mention of the five-bedroom residence on the Windsor estate in the announcement.
The couple have insisted on keeping it as a UK base but have agreed to pay back the £2.4 million of taxpayer money spent on its refurbishment.
Catherine St-Laurent has been hired as ‘chief of staff’ and ‘executive director’ of Harry and Meghan’s non-profit enterprise
New chief of staff
Harry and Meghan confirmed that they have managed to tempt one of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda’s leading executives.
Catherine St-Laurent has been hired as ‘chief of staff’ and ‘executive director’ of their non-profit enterprise. She was the director at Pivotal Ventures, Melinda Gates’ women and families foundation, supporting campaigns that aimed to help improve the lives of women around the globe.
In a departing email to staff, she announced: ‘I am thrilled to be able to play a supporting role in realising their vision and enabling them to achieve impact on the issues that matter most to them.’
A friend told the Mail that the Canadian-born French speaker was ‘feisty, fair and up for a tough conversation’, adding: ‘But if all goes wrong, she is good for a laugh and a cocktail afterwards. She’s a good egg. She’ll bring a clean-sheet perspective.’
The mother of two said in a statement: ‘I am delighted and honored to be able to play a role in realising their vision as they embark on this journey of learning, listening, and inspiring all of us to act.’
Refusal to pick up tab for Harry and Meghan’s security is Donald Trump’s revenge after couple’s insults, writes TOM LEONARD
Back in May 2016, Meghan Markle was yet to meet her prince when – as a star of the TV drama Suits – she appeared on an obscure late-night US chat show.
The women’s rights firebrand held forth on the awfulness of Donald Trump, then the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the presidency.
Not only was he ‘divisive’ and ‘misogynistic’ but he had ‘made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world he is painting for us’, she complained.
Meghan, at the time living in Toronto while filming her TV series, warned that Mr Trump’s election would be so terrible that ‘I might just stay in Canada’ and not come back to the US.
Meghan snubbed Mr Trump when he came to the UK for a state visit. Although Prince Harry at least deigned to meet The Donald, he appeared lukewarm, writes TOM LEONARD
Fateful words. Nearly four years later, she has been offered the same choice and, it appears, leapt at the chance of fleeing over the border. Even though it meant quitting liberal Canada – under the benign administration of her friend Justin Trudeau – for life under the politician she most detests in Los Angeles.
President Trump has already shown he inherited his Scottish-born mother Mary’s adoration of the pomp and ceremony of the Royal Family, not to mention her love for the Queen, but he hasn’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In a tweet on Sunday he put the kibosh on any hope they may have had of the US footing the bill for their protection. ‘I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen and the United Kingdom,’ wrote Mr Trump. ‘It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the US. However, the US will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!’
Although the Sussexes quickly put out a statement insisting they’d never intended to ask Washington for help and have their own ‘privately-funded security arrangements’, thank you, it left the impression that they had yet again failed to do proper planning.
The couple really shouldn’t have been surprised that the president should try to rain on their parade in the sunshine state.
In a tweet on Sunday President Trump put the kibosh on any hope they may have had of the US footing the bill for their protection, writes TOM LEONARD
After all, Meghan snubbed Mr Trump when he came to the UK for a state visit – and a snub it was, whatever was said about her being excused royal duties as she was on maternity leave.
Although Prince Harry at least deigned to meet The Donald, he appeared lukewarm. He missed a lavish state dinner at Buckingham Palace for the president and earlier the same day, during a visit to the Royal Picture Gallery, witnesses said he noticeably hung back from standing – and being photographed – with Trump, chatting instead with his daughter Ivanka.
At the time, Mr Trump brushed aside their differences – although he made clear he knew all too well that the duchess had attacked him. ‘She was nasty to me,’ he said in an interview, ‘and that’s OK for her to be nasty, it’s not good for me to be nasty to her and I wasn’t.
‘She’s doing a good job, I hope she enjoys her life… I think she’s very nice.’ It was a generous, high-minded response which anyone who knew anything about Mr Trump didn’t believe for a second was sincere.
Mr Trump now has their future in his hands. Not paying for the couple’s protection could only be the start of his payback, writes TOM LEONARD
He’s made no secret of where his sympathies lie when it comes to Megxit. In an interview in January, he said the Queen had been ‘hurt’ by the couple’s sudden announcement, adding: ‘I don’t think this should be happening to her.’
Prince Harry, disciplined by years of royal caution about political views, has let slip little about what he thinks of Mr Trump.
Unfortunately for him – very unfortunately given he was shortly to move to the US – he let down his guard during a prank call from Russian hoaxers posing as the teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg and her father.
He laid into the president’s environmental policy: ‘The mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry is so big in America, he has blood on his hands.’
Mr Trump now has their future in his hands. Not paying for the couple’s protection could only be the start of his payback.
Under US law, as the spouse of an American citizen, Harry does not have automatic right to citizenship
Under US law, as the spouse of an American citizen, Harry does not have automatic right to citizenship. He is probably not eligible to apply for an A1 visa, the preserve of diplomats and government officials.
He would have to go through the tedious process of securing a Green Card – that gives the right to live permanently and work in the US.
To do so, he would have to persuade officials (who under the Trump administration have tightened the process considerably) that he is a successful businessman with talents of use to the US, or else an ‘alien of extraordinary ability’. The process usually requires gushingly supportive letters from prominent people.
However, the decision as to who gets a Green Card remains notoriously arbitrary.
Taxation may be another area where US federal officials could – if they chose – put the couple through the wringer as they work towards being ‘financially independent’.
Although it has been reported that the couple moved to LA in part to avoid Meghan having to pay taxes in both the US and Canada, it will still be complicated.
Wherever they live, US citizens face being taxed on their worldwide income by the country’s Internal Revenue Service. If Prince Harry also takes citizenship, the US taxman will be able to scrutinise every aspect of their financial affairs in the UK, including any contributions they received from Prince Charles and other royal relatives.
The president may yet give the Sussexes plenty more to complain about.
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