- Now that they are stepping back from their royal duties, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's future security costs have become an issue.
- According to Mark Stephens of London law firm Howard Kennedy, Harry and Meghan will likely continue to receive the same diplomatic protections as they did as working royals.
- Stephens also predicts that the British taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for the Sussex family's security costs.
Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their decision to step back from their work as senior members of the royal family, people have had QUESTIONS. Particularly, people in the United Kingdom and Canada (the countries the Sussexes are expected to split most of their time between) have wondered if the couple will still be entitled to security services.
According to legal expert Mark Stephens from London law firm Howard Kennedy, not only is the answer probably yes, it really should be yes.
"If you take the Dutch royal family for example, where a number of them work—the King is an airline pilot—they still have diplomatic immunity because of their status as a member of the royal family," Stephens explains. "The same is the case in the Middle East—Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or the UAE. So it’s perfectly normal. There are no exceptions for Harry and Meghan."
Even if Harry and Meghan aren't working as senior royals, they'll still always be famous and, more importantly, always be potential targets of people looking to harm, threaten, or blackmail the royal family. Stephens says that means Harry and Meghan really need state-appointed security details, as opposed to hiring a private firm.
"If they’re covered by either the Canadian or British security services, they will also have the intelligence attached which comes with that," Stephens says. "If you employ a private security firm, they won’t have the intelligence which is necessary to provide effective close protection. So, they are clearly going to get that, whatever grumblings there may be from people who are concerned about it being paid. It’s all being paid for at the moment and it doesn’t change by virtue of them stepping back."
The question of who will pick up the tab is, of course, one of the sticking points of Harry and Meghan's royal exit. Bad news for British taxpayers who are salty about the change though: Stephens says they will probably be the ones who continue to foot the bill for the Sussex family's security costs. He also says that's actually totally reasonable, for the record.
"We pay for the security of ex-politicians and government ministers who have two days in the job, so it is perfectly reasonable for a lifelong member of the royal family to have security," he says. "And I think the [U.K.] government will feel like that."
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