Ever since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced that they would be taking “a step back” as senior members of the royal family, a number of questions have come up surrounding their decision — especially about the topic of security.
According to Mark Stephens from London law firm Howard Kennedy, who spoke with People magazine, the Sussexes will likely still receive the same level of diplomatic protection as any other royal “whether or not they are active members.”
Stephens explained to the outlet: “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.
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“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,” he added of the couple.
As People notes, if the line of royal succession follows its current course, Prince Harry, 35, will eventually become the son to the King of England (Prince Charles) then the brother to the King of England (Prince William), so the importance of security for the Sussexes and their 8-month-old son, Archie, will only become more crucial.
“If they’re covered by either the Canadian or British security services, they will also have the intelligence attached which comes with that,” Stephens told the magazine. “If you employ a private security firm, they won’t have the intelligence which is necessary to provide effective close protection.
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“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,” he stated.
When it comes to who will be paying for the couple’s security costs, Stephens suggested to the outlet that it’ll continue to come from the same place as before: the British taxpayer.
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“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 shared. “And I think the [U.K.] government will feel like that.”
On Wednesday, Page Six reported that more than 80,000 Canadians have signed an online petition, which comes from the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, demanding that Markle and Prince Harry pay for their own security while living there.
“Canadians are pleased to welcome the Duke and Duchess to Canada, but have made it crystal clear that taxpayers should not be forced to support them while they are living here,” said federal director Aaron Wudrick. “All Canadians wish them well as they realize their ambition of financial independence.”
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In their big Jan. 8 announcement, Prince Harry and Markle, 38, explained they would be stepping back from their senior royal status to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. A part of their goal is to be “financially independent.”
On Harry and Markle’s official website SussexRoyal.com, the couple explained that their travel arrangements “will continue to be paid for privately and not by UK taxpayers.”
A note on their website explains that provisions for armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the government, which doesn’t allow the royal couple to elaborate to the public as to how it is funded or works.
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As stated on the government’s website: “No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected. It is long established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences.”
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report