CELEBRITIES

The True Cost of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Security

One of the most striking revelations from Oprah’s recent interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the assertion that the Royal family had severed their financial support, placing the burden of their security squarely on their shoulders. The annual security bill for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, responsible for their around-the-clock protection, could easily soar to a staggering $2 to $3 million, according to insights from four security experts interviewed by Forbes. A spokesperson for the royal couple refrained from making any comments on the matter.

So, where exactly does this substantial sum of money go? To begin with, it’s likely that a combination of security personnel and advanced electronics is employed to safeguard their Montecito mansion. However, as any seasoned Hollywood celebrity can attest, their security requirements extend far beyond the confines of their sprawling 7.4-acre estate. They necessitate teams to scout locations before any planned visits, providing escort vehicles to ensure safe transportation. Security experts are likely monitoring social media continuously while staying in close communication with local law enforcement to identify potential threats. In some cases, decoys may be utilized to divert the attention of paparazzi.

Reflecting on the situation, APA Celebrity Protection Group’s D-Teflon, renowned for providing security to celebrities like Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, and Kiefer Sutherland, highlighted the significance of this security arrangement, saying, “He has already experienced the tragic loss of his mother due to a lack of risk assessment in a similar situation. So he must ponder, ‘Do I want my wife and child exposed to the same fate?'”

When the couple stepped back as working members of the royal family while in Canada last spring, the Metropolitan Police, which typically provides security for the royal family worldwide, ceased their protection. Upon their move to Los Angeles in April 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan initially resided in a property owned by billionaire movie producer Tyler Perry, who extended security services. However, since their move to Montecito in the summer of the same year, Prince Harry and Meghan have been shouldering the financial responsibility.

Kent Moyer, CEO of The World Protection Group, a Beverly Hills-based security firm, pointed out a potential security lapse when Prince Harry purchased the property in his name, making their address easily accessible through public records. “It’d take 10 minutes to roam around to find that property,” warned Moyer.

Presumably, the security firm tasked with safeguarding the family factored this vulnerability into their initial assessment of the property. Such assessments typically account for natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires, as well as the layout of the residence and its surroundings. Some security experts, like Moyer, utilize drones to patrol the perimeter of celebrity estates, detect intruders, illuminate them, capture photographic and video evidence, and announce their trespassing. Others opt for canine assistance.

Ironically, the gravest threats can originate from within. Moyer cited an incident involving the duke and duchess’ neighbors, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, whose heavily guarded property was burglarized in what has been termed an “inside job.”

Moyer cautioned, “I’ve worked for clients where the most dangerous person was either the head of security or a close friend, intentionally attempting to sabotage us. That’s a significant concern.”

Even seemingly innocuous social media posts can render high-profile clients vulnerable by alerting potential thieves to their absence, as evidenced by a string of burglaries in the Hollywood Hills in 2018, noted Jason D. Porter of Pinkerton.

Leaving their home poses an entirely different set of risks. Security teams conduct thorough inspections of hotels, airports, or venues ahead of any planned visits. A caravan of vehicles, typically consisting of a lead and trail vehicle, escorts Prince Harry or Meghan to their destination, ensuring multiple escape routes in case of a traffic stop or security breach.

Anthony Davis, whose firm, AD Entertainment, has provided security for various celebrities, including The Osbournes, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Idol, and Michael Jackson’s Victory, emphasized the intricate planning required for every move. “Every move has to be choreographed. Even a simple trip to a coffee shop, in some instances, needs to be meticulously arranged,” he explained. Factors like the presence of suspicious individuals, traffic conditions, and road construction that might expose them as targets while stuck in traffic all require careful consideration when providing protection for high-profile individuals and families.

Paparazzi pose a unique challenge, a fact well-known to Prince Harry due to his personal experiences. D-Teflon recounted an incident when he accompanied Morgan Freeman to a restaurant, and another patron disclosed their location to friends. As they prepared to leave, they were met with a throng of fans and paparazzi outside the restaurant, potentially escalating into a volatile situation. D-Teflon revealed his strategy of hiring security personnel to pose as paparazzi, leading other photographers astray or employing celebrity look-alikes as decoys.

He emphasized, “The paparazzi follow noise and clicks. I can use that as a diversion, directing them one way while we exit in the opposite direction. If a high-speed chase ensues, they’ll be chasing the wrong person.”

In this intricate dance of security measures and constant vigilance, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle navigate a world where their every move is closely monitored and meticulously planned to ensure their safety and privacy.