A TV poll on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s future protection reveals 90 per cent say THEY should foot their own £20million security bill.
Good Morning Britain asked whether UK taxpayers were responsible for covering the royal couple’s security costs.
Meghan Markle’s plan to leave baby Archie behind while she heads to the UK has presented a problem for security officers
The poll was used to gauge reaction to news that Canada will no longer provide security for Harry and Meghan and baby Archie, following their departure from the UK.
GMB’s unofficial poll asked on Twitter: “Should UK taxpayers foot the bill for Harry, Meghan and Archie’s protection?”
There were 14,685 votes – resulting in 90.6 per cent saying ‘no’.
One person replied to GMB: “Taxpayers in UK and Canada should not be paying for the security of two multi-millionaires who will be adding to their fortune.
“Let them pay for their own security.”
But another pointed out: “Protecting Harry, Meghan and Archie is as much as about protecting the Queen and the Royal Family as it is those three.
“Without proper protection they’re targets [for] kidnapping and ransom demands.”
On GMB today, Ken Wharfe, Diana’s former protection officer, told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that baby Archie was currently the most at risk from kidnapping.
The Canadian government said last Thursday that once the couple are no longer working members of the British royal family in the coming weeks, their protection would no longer be its problem.
Royal police are facing a security headache as the Duchess of Sussex is leaving Archie in Canada to fly to Britain this week.
Officers will have to divvy up roles to guard Meghan in London and her son in Vancouver.
Asked about the arrangement, Ken added: “He’s part of the security package Piers.
“It doesn’t matter whether he stays there or comes to the UK, the building they are staying in has to be secured, even when they’re not there.
“There is all the additional residential security costs involved in that.
“But, from my point of view, Archie is probably the biggest threat to their family then the parents.
“There’s a real risk of a kidnap here, given the publicity, and a lot of it more negative now.”
Ken spoke about the controversy over their security in relation to Diana’s death following a car crash 23 years ago in Paris, France.
He warned: “We know what happened to Diana because of the inefficient security afforded to her at that time.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been helping London’s Met Police with security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “intermittently” since November, when the couple began a six-week holiday in Canada.
But once Harry and Meghan are no longer considered senior members of the British royal family, they will no longer receive the publicly-funded security that is estimated to cost millions of dollars.
The couple stunned the royal family in early January with a surprise announcement that they would be stepping down from their roles as senior royals.
They are keen to gain freedom from the intense media scrutiny that has followed them for several years.
The couple also announced their intention to spend more time in Canada.
The RCMP said that staff had been providing the pair with protection as they were so-called “Internationally Protected Persons”.
But, this “assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status,” said the Canadian government.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, believe they are legally entitled to year-round police protection and appear unwilling to pay for it.
It means Harry and Meghan’s £20million-a-year security bill looks to fall squarely on the taxpayer-funded Met Police.
The couple’s final official engagement is expected to be Commonwealth Day with the Queen at Westminster Abbey on March 9.
Already-stretched officers will now have to divvy up roles to ensure the security of both Meghan in London and Archie back in Vancouver
It’s predicted the couple will need at least 12 officers to cover them on trips, which are often made apart