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Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle were “very well protected” during a time of great loss – but the Duke of Sussex may still take the British government to court over his security arrangements in the UK
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was 96.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived in the UK Sept. 4 for several days of previously planned engagements. But after Elizabeth’s death, the focus was on family.
The queen’s grandson has been facing an ongoing dispute over security in his homeland.
“I think the security arrangements for Harry and Meghan around the funeral were very much part of the royal security arrangements,” True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News Digital. “They were living at Frogmore, their house on the Windsor estate protected by all the security that protects the Windsor Castle environment. They were protected by the royal infrastructure in cars, in the procession of Buckingham Palace, everywhere. I think there was likely no tension around security in terms of the funeral because there was so much security around it already.”
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Bullen is an award-winning documentarian who has been producing programs about the British royal family for 20 years and has worked closely with King Charles for about a decade.
His subscription service is launching two specials for streaming: “The Royal Beat: Her Majesty’s Final Journey” and “Recollections: Memories of Her Majesty.” Both feature royal experts and palace insiders weighing in on Elizabeth’s life and legacy.
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The funeral of the only monarch most Britons had known involved the biggest security operation London had ever seen.
Major Sadiq Khan revealed that Monday’s state funeral for Elizabeth was an “unprecedented” security challenge as hundreds of thousands of people packed central London to pay their respects. The funeral guest list consisted of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy also noted that the “hugely complex” policing operation was the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics. More than 10,000 police officers were on duty, and reinforcements came from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces also acted as stewards along the processional route.
“Harry and Meghan were very well protected during the days they were in the UK because they were within the bubble of the royal family,” Bullen explained. “That was never the issue. I think the issue for Harry and Meghan was during the days when they were out and about for their engagements before the queen passed. I think that’s what they were frustrated with. But, the truth is, if you ‘re not a working royal, you can’t have royal protection. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie don’t have it. Many of the other royals that exist within the broader family don’t have it either. So I don’t see why Harry and Meghan should expect different treatment.”
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In July, a judge in London ruled that Harry can take the British government to court over his security arrangements in the UK. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex lost publicly-funded UK police protection when they stepped down as senior members of the British royal family and moved to North America in 2020. Harry, 38, wants to pay personally for police security when he goes to Britain and is challenging the government’s refusal to permit it.
Lee Sansum, who once served as Princess Diana’s bodyguard, said Harry should be allowed to hire his personal security to protect him while he and his family are in the UK
“Harry has been in the military,” Sansum explained to Fox News Digital. “He’s got a good understanding of security. I imagine he’s pretty switched onto everything [the dangers]. But if he wasn’t, I would suggest he does. I would hate to be in his position, but I think being in the states is the best place for him to be. It’s probably the safest place for him to be, I would think.”
Sansum has written a memoir that was published on Aug. 30, titled “Protecting Diana: A Bodyguard’s Story,” that described how he became part of the security detail that looked after the Princess of Wales and her sons for what would be her last summer alive.
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The ex-military policeman noted that with social media, there are even more risks to consider than what existed during Diana’s lifetime.
“As you know, many people live their lives on social media,” he explained. “You have keyboard warriors and all these trolls on there. You can’t ignore the threats. I would suggest that he take a course that could help him get a more technical handle on his security, but I’m sure his protection team is ultimately professional anyway.”
Judge Jonathan Swift ruled that the case can go to a full hearing before the High Court in London. He refused some aspects of the challenge but said that some grounds “give rise to an arguable case” that deserves a hearing.
A date has not been set for the case to be heard.
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Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in 2018. They stepped down as working royals in 2020, citing what they described as unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.
Harry’s lawyers said the prince is reluctant to bring the couple’s children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, to the UK because it is not safe.
Harry wants to be able to pay for the protection, saying his private security team in the US does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information.
His lawyers also said that removing his full royal security was unreasonable because Harry was not allowed to make “informed representations beforehand.”
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The British government said the committee’s decision was reasonable and it is not possible to pay privately for police protection.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex live in California, a move that Sansum said did not surprise him. He pointed out that Harry’s mother had considered moving to the West Coast to also escape the ruthless British tabloids.
“I just thought it was a natural place for him to go, so it didn’t surprise me at all,” Sansum explained. “I’ve been over to the States quite a few times. I’ve got family there, and I’ve worked there. Whenever you speak to people in the States, it’s very clear that the public loves Diana.”
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Sansum pointed out that Harry should do whatever it takes to keep his family safe, especially after the loss he endured. In August 1997, Diana died from injuries in a Paris car crash. The princess was 36. At the time of the crash, every car was being chased by paparazzi.
“Harry was just a boy, 12, when this massive, horrible thing happened in his life,” said Sansum. “It’s a huge trauma. He understood that his mother was going to the States. He understood why. And as we grow older, those things are implanted in our brains. I would imagine that Harry feels safer in the States. But those feelings never go away.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.