Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Should Continue to Receive Diplomatic Protection, According to a Legal Expert

A legal expert explains why it's totally reasonable for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to maintain their diplomatic protection even if they're no longer working royals.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Visit Nottingham
(Image credit: WPA Pool)
  • Now that they are stepping back from their royal duties, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's future security costs have become an issue.
  • According to Mark Stephens of London law firm Howard Kennedy, Harry and Meghan will likely continue to receive the same diplomatic protections as they did as working royals.
  • Stephens also predicts that the British taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for the Sussex family's security costs

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their decision to step back from their work as senior members of the royal family, people have had QUESTIONS. Particularly, people in the United Kingdom and Canada (the countries the Sussexes are expected to split most of their time between) have wondered if the couple will still be entitled to security services.

According to legal expert Mark Stephens from London law firm Howard Kennedy, not only is the answer probably yes, it really should be yes.

Kennedy told People that Harry and Meghan will likely receive the same level of diplomatic protection as any other royal—even if they aren't active, "working royals."

"If you take the Dutch royal family for example, where a number of them work—the King is an airline pilot—they still have diplomatic immunity because of their status as a member of the royal family," Stephens explains. "The same is the case in the Middle East—Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or the UAE. So it’s perfectly normal. There are no exceptions for Harry and Meghan."

Even if Harry and Meghan aren't working as senior royals, they'll still always be famous and, more importantly, always be potential targets of people looking to harm, threaten, or blackmail the royal family. Stephens says that means Harry and Meghan really need state-appointed security details, as opposed to hiring a private firm.

"If they’re covered by either the Canadian or British security services, they will also have the intelligence attached which comes with that," Stephens says. "If you employ a private security firm, they won’t have the intelligence which is necessary to provide effective close protection. So, they are clearly going to get that, whatever grumblings there may be from people who are concerned about it being paid. It’s all being paid for at the moment and it doesn’t change by virtue of them stepping back."

The question of who will pick up the tab is, of course, one of the sticking points of Harry and Meghan's royal exit. Bad news for British taxpayers who are salty about the change though: Stephens says they will probably be the ones who continue to foot the bill for the Sussex family's security costs. He also says that's actually totally reasonable, for the record.

"We pay for the security of ex-politicians and government ministers who have two days in the job, so it is perfectly reasonable for a lifelong member of the royal family to have security," he says. "And I think the [U.K.] government will feel like that."

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Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.