Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might have taken a step back, relinquishing their responsibilities as senior members of the royal family and then subsequently moved to North America, but they have not, in fact, left the royal family, altogether. So, while the issue is sure to ruffle feathers amongst the British taxpayers, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will receive diplomatic security protection for the rest of their lives, says legal expert Mark Stephens from the London-based law firm, Howard Kennedy.
Stephens Presents Similar Arguments to Other Monarchies, Royal Families
Stephens in speaking with People Magazine shared his opinions on the issue of security for the recently abdicated couple. "It is perfectly reasonable for a lifelong member of the royal family to have security," he said. "Whether or not they are active members" Prince Harry and Markle will receive the appropriate protection afforded to them.
The legal expert also cited other examples of royal families and similar incidents. "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 explained.
Stephens then extrapolated the situation to the royal family in the Middle East. "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."
The Need for Intelligence Will Have to Accompany The Security Detail
Stephens noted something even more pressing, though, and perhaps something that has been considered yet. Currently, as the lineage stands, Prince Harry will be both the son of the king, as well as, the brother, which will prompt the need for increasing amounts of security and intelligence, no matter where he's living or what country he resides.
"If they’re covered by either the Canadian or British security services, they will also have the intelligence attached which comes with that,” explains Stephens. “If you employ a private security firm, they won’t have the intelligence which is necessary to provide effective close protection."
British Taxpayers to Be Responsible for the Cost of the Security and Intelligence
Despite being convinced that the British taxpayer is still going to be responsible for paying for the high-security detail, he does acknowledge that there will be complaints regarding the matter.
"So, they are clearly going to get that, whatever grumblings there may be from people who are concerned about it being paid," Stephens continued. "It’s all being paid for at the moment and it doesn’t change by virtue of them stepping back."
Stephens then went on to use the examples of former officials who are still receiving protection, regardless of the amount of time that they in office. "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 adds. “And I think the [U.K.] government will feel like that."
Its a Losing Battle For Taxypayers to Fight Against The Couple's Security Need
It's ultimately going to be a losing battle for people who try to fight it, no matter how much they don't agree with the premise. But it's important to realize that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are still part of the royal family in some capacity even if they've moved away and there are tensions between the members.
No doubt, there will be arguments presented against having to pay for the security, but in the end, it will probably not change the outcome.