A 2020 Letter from Queen Elizabeth Demands That Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “Be Provided With Effective Security”—Even After Moving to the U.S.

“It is imperative.”

Prince Harry Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A letter has recently been made public as part of Prince Harry’s ongoing libel case against a U.K. newspaper that reveal Queen Elizabeth’s desire for Harry and his family to have “effective” security, People reports.

The letter reads that it was “imperative” to Her late Majesty that Harry, along with wife Meghan Markle and their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, have continued security ahead of their move to the U.S. in 2020. The exact wording from the letter reads that Harry and Meghan should “continue to be provided with effective security” against “extremists” in a letter from the Palace written on her behalf. The letter was presented as evidence in High Court amidst Harry’s current libel lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Times reports. 

Prince Harry Court Case

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The letter was written by the late Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young and was sent to U.K. cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill following the so-called “Sandringham Summit” held by Queen Elizabeth in January 2020, famously held to discuss Harry and Meghan’s future in the royal family after the couple announced they were stepping back as working members of the royal family on January 8 of that year.

“You will understand well that ensuring that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain safe is of paramount importance to Her Majesty and her family,” the letter reads. “Given the Duke’s public profile by virtue of being born into the royal family, his military service, the Duchess’s own independent profile, and the well-documented history of targeting of the Sussex family by extremists, it is imperative that the family continues to be provided with effective security.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in March 2020 under an umbrella together

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Harry is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd., the publisher of both The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, for libel over a 2022 article about his security arrangements that he alleges was “an attack on his honesty and integrity,” per The Sunday Times. Harry is not appearing in person at the three-day hearing in London, where the question of whether Harry and Meghan’s financial support from the royal family stopped after their step back and move to the U.S.

The BBC reports that The Mail on Sunday claims that Harry did not offer to pay for police protection after the Sandringham Summit, as Harry’s legal team argued, and only pitched the idea after initiating the claim for a judicial review, the outlet reports. 

Prince Harry at an engagement

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Harry lost his attempt to have The Mail on Sunday’s defense of his libel lawsuit dismissed, as Justice Matthew Nicklin concluded that Harry’s lawsuit should go to trial. In a separate case also related to his security in the U.K., Harry is challenging the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) over its decision to remove his police security in the U.K. following the 2020 step back. Harry’s attorneys said this week in a written statement that RAVEC “should have considered the ‘impact’ that a successful attack on the claimant would have, bearing in mind his status, background, and profile within the royal family—which he was born into and which he will have for the rest of his life. RAVEC should have considered, in particular, the impact on the U.K.’s reputation of a successful attack on the claimant.”

During the hearing, Harry spoke about wanting Archie and Lilibet “to feel at home” in his native country, which hasn’t been able to happen as there is currently “no possibility to keep them safe when they are on U.K. soil.” Harry also said in a statement shared by his lawyers that he “felt forced” to step back from his royal duties, adding “The U.K. is my home. The U.K. is central to the heritage of my children and a place I want them to feel at home as much as where they live at the moment in the United States.” Of Meghan, he added “I can’t put my wife in danger like that, and given my experiences in life, I’m reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm’s way, too.”

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry interacting

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The U.K. Home Office said that security for Harry and his family should be decided on a case-by-case basis because “he would no longer be a working member of the royal family and would be living abroad for the majority of the time.”

In his autobiography, Spare, Harry wrote he was “desperate” to keep his security and begged his family, including his grandmother the Queen, to continue to provide armed police protection, alleging that he told them “Look. Please. Meg and I don’t care about perks. We care about working, serving—and staying alive.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.