Protection row leaves Harry and Meghan with astonishing cost for new life in California
London - Harry and Meghan have agreed to pay for the cost of their security personally, the Mail can reveal – which could cost them £4 million (about R88 million) a year.
A spokesman for the couple confirmed 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.
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 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."
It came as Buckingham Palace made a series of announcements about Harry and Meghan’s future. From April 1, 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 $5 million 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 on Monday night with a message on Instagram.
Signing off their Sussex Royal social media feed, Harry and Meghan told their 11 million 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."
View this post on Instagram
As we can all feel, the world at this moment seems extraordinarily fragile. Yet we are confident that every human being has the potential and opportunity to make a difference—as seen now across the globe, in our families, our communities and those on the front line—together we can lift each other up to realise the fullness of that promise. What’s most important right now is the health and wellbeing of everyone across the globe and finding solutions for the many issues that have presented themselves as a result of this pandemic. As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute. While you may not see us here, the work continues. 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
A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex(@sussexroyal) on Mar 30, 2020 at 9:17am PDT
After initially insisting that they would "collaborate" with the Queen by adopting a "half in, half out" strategy, the couple concluded by confirming 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 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.
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 they can make their new roles work.
They have – finally – officially announced that their PR is being managed by the 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 repay the £2.4 million of taxpayer money spent on its refurbishment.
New chief of staff
Harry and Meghan confirmed 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 said: "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."