08 April 2021

Security was key for Harry and Meghan as they stepped down as senior royals

08 April 2021

Security provision for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was one of the key issues when the couple announced they wanted to step down as senior royals.

When Harry and Meghan made public their decision early last year, their website suggested the Home Office, through the Metropolitan Police, should continue to provide protection for the couple and their young son Archie.

But there were already doubts about the taxpayer picking up the bill, with former Home Office minister Norman Baker calling at the time for the Met Police to cap the annual expenditure on security for Harry and Meghan to its 2019 level.

Oprah Winfrey interviews Duke and Duchess of Sussex (PA Wire)

He said: “Do we want the Met’s budget devoted to tackling terrorism, knife crime, assaults and burglary in the capital, or do we want them flying around the US and Canada, accompanying Harry and Meghan as they enrich themselves through their commercial activities?”

Just before the first lockdown began in March 2020, the couple moved from their exclusive Vancouver Island home in Canada to Los Angeles and relied on the support of actor Tyler Perry, staying at his home for three months.

Harry and Meghan were forced to disclose they had put in place “privately funded security arrangements” for their move to the US, after then president Donald Trump said his country would not pay for their protection.

Meghan revealed in her interview with Oprah Winfrey that Perry stepped in to help: “We needed a house and he offered his security as well, so it gave us breathing room to try to figure out what we were going to do.”

One World Broadcast 2020 (PA Media)

Now no longer working members of the royal family, the duke and duchess were responsible for the management and cost of their security, and the couple needed to find a source of income to cover the many millions required to keep them safe.

But in the time Perry afforded the couple, they negotiated a deal with Netflix – rumoured to be worth more than £100 million – and another lucrative contract with Spotify was also signed.

When they bought their £11 million Montecito home near Santa Barbara that summer, they joined dozens of other A-list celebrities living in the area.

And like the rich and famous, they are thought to have employed a private security firm to maintain their safety.

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