It was one of the potentially worst times for this news to come down: Prince Harry has been denied his bid to pay for his family’s security protection in the U.K., with the news coming just a week after his and wife Meghan Markle’s two-hour car chase in New York City by the paparazzi—likely a time where they feel less safe than ever. In addition to Harry and Meghan, Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland was also involved in the incident.
Per Us Weekly, Harry losing his bid to pay for his security is “totally wrong,” says royal security expert Richard Atich, who says the couple’s security measures need to be discussed not just in the U.K., but in the U.S., as well. Harry, Meghan, and their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, live in Montecito, California; the family moved stateside in 2020 after stepping back as working members of the royal family.
“It’s just absolutely ridiculous and completely mind-baffling,” says Atich of the high court judge’s decision yesterday.
Atich agrees that U.K. taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund the couple’s security, but says that Harry, as a prominent member of the British royal family, should have the ability to hire some form of security “regardless of whether he serves the Crown or not.”
In the U.S., the Sussexes should “have security in the U.S. commercial private sector provision of security,” he says, adding their security should be overseen by “a U.K. Met police officer to ensure that standards are being delivered, and also to have that access of intelligence flows, as well, from the U.K. intelligence agencies.”
Harry and Meghan’s recent security debacle in New York City only further highlights their need for better protection, Atich says. “The concern here is the fact that you have a high-profile couple within the public limelight with severe public interest in them,” he says. “And the paparazzi will do anything to gain their photos or follow them to confirm locations they’re visiting, who they’re meeting with to create that story that’s needed in the media. And of course, it very much becomes a state of cat and mouse.”
Atich noted that since Harry and Meghan’s protection falls under “commercial operations” and not “police protection law,” they are not entitled to receive police escorts and must obey “normal traffic restrictions, road closures, and close proximity to other road users,” he says. Knowing this, the Sussex team could have taken preventative measures by having blinds in their vehicles or even using “armored vehicles” if the concern warranted it, Atich says.
“But suffice to say is if the drivers start accelerating away from the paparazzi, all you are doing is enticing a chase,” he says. “And you will have innocent bystanders being knocked over or, indeed, a traffic accident.”
While Atich says he does “pity” Harry and Meghan, he says being photographed and followed by the paparazzi is a “byproduct of being out there in the public domain.”
“If security is an issue for you, then you need to ensure that that security is balanced, well-trained, and afforded in the right, proper way,” he says. “At the moment, all of this reaction, unbalanced response to the paparazzi, is only enticing the chances of a situation that could be terrible for both the couple and others, as well.”
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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.
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