Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's U.K. Security Could Cost Them a Whole Lot If They End Up Paying for It All

That's one expensive family gathering they got there.

meghan markle prince harry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The question of whether Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their children will be able to obtain an appropriate security detail when they finally make it back to the U.K. is far from resolved.

Having left the country and royal life, the Sussexes are no longer entitled to police protection. In the U.S., they pay for their own security, but their team there can't protect them in the U.K.

Prince Harry offered on several occasions to pay privately for whatever security he is afforded when visiting his home country, but that request has been repeatedly denied. But if he is allowed to do so in the end, it could cost him a pretty hefty sum. Barring that, that sum could fall to the U.K. taxpayer.

"It’s very difficult to put a figure exactly on it," the director of operations for Mobius International Security, Richard Aitch, told Us Weekly. "The cost for a personal protection officer from the [Metropolitan Police] has been estimated to be around £100,000 a year."

The expert added, "What may appear as a wish on paper is far more in reality, and the costs can certainly be quite huge."

Aitch told Us Weekly that a royal committee will have to resolve this "very difficult" and "unprecedented" situation.

"This committee decides on who receives protection by the police, and if they do receive it, what capacity does appear," he said. "Their responsibility is to make a determination on security provision to members of parliament, such as the prime minister, the foreign office minister, the home secretary and so on, in addition to members of the royal family."

Aitch understands where the hesitation comes from. "At the end of the day, the members of royal family provide a service to the people," he explained. "They have loyal duties to undertake, and by virtue of that, the U.K. taxpayer then funds the protection for that service. [Harry] has relinquished his royal duties, he no longer provides a service to the U.K. people, right? And therefore in the eyes of the government, the question is why then should the U.K. taxpayer pay and fund his personal security? … And that his fully understandable."

But cost isn't everything: There is the issue of the duke being able to visit his family without serious threat to his safety.

"The subject of cost shouldn’t be focused on whether [or] how he provides a service to the people or not alone," Aitch added. "By virtue of the fact that he is a senior member of the royal family, he is exposed to a wide variety of serious threats, and the risks to those threats have increased since his departure from the royal family. The fact he no longer receives police protection [means] his risk to threats have certainly spiked."

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.