Monday 25 September 2017

Prince Harry 'considering hiring personal protection officer' for girlfriend Meghan Markle

Prince Harry, left, and Meghan Markle, right
Prince Harry, left, and Meghan Markle, right
Meghan Markle attends ELLE's 6th Annual Women In Television Dinner. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle in the royal box at Wimbledon 2016
Meghan Markle attends the NBC's 2015 New York Summer Press Day at Four Seasons Hotel New York on June 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Tony Jones

Prince Harry is said to be considering hiring a retired Scotland Yard personal protection officer to guard his American girlfriend Meghan Markle, according to reports.

Harry has already publicly stated, through his Communications Secretary Jason Knauf, how "worried" he is about her safety and "deeply disappointed" he has not been able to protect her.

The statement released earlier this month by Mr Knauf described the "wave of abuse and harassment" Harry's girlfriend had been subjected to when news of their relationship first broke.

Ms Markle lives and works in the city of Toronto where she films the hit series Suits - but has been besieged by the media over the past few weeks.

Meghan Markle attends ELLE's 6th Annual Women In Television Dinner. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle attends ELLE's 6th Annual Women In Television Dinner. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

The Evening Standard quoted a senior inside security source, who told the newspaper: "There have been initial discussions about this matter.

"HRH has made it clear that he believes Miss Markle's personal safety is paramount and that the behaviour of some elements of the media and press has been grossly unacceptable."

The paper claimed Harry was prepared to fund the protection himself.

Members of the Royal Family can develop strong friendships with their protection officers and Harry could be in contact with officers he has known in the past.

Meghan Markle in the royal box at Wimbledon 2016
Meghan Markle in the royal box at Wimbledon 2016

Kensington Palace declined to comment.

Ms Markle was in London for a few days last week and it is thought she stayed with Harry at his home in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

Staying with her royal boyfriend would have given her the protection and security Harry felt was lacking.

It had been widely anticipated she would make an appearance with Harry at Twickenham on Saturday, when he attended England's rugby match against South Africa, but royal fans were left disappointed.

Former royalty protection officer Ken Wharfe said employing an ex-personal protection officer would have obvious advantages over a security firm.

He said: "The benefits are quite considerable, the royalty protection department is a highly unique department funded by the state.

"Although you're not able to carry a firearm when you leave you still have the expertise and the contacts. Scotland Yard are likely to be more welcoming to an ex-protection officer than an outside body."

He added that if the ex-officer was to work in North America he would probably receive the same professional respect from authorities because of his background.

He added: "Whether Harry goes down that road I'm not certain, but one thing is certain Scotland Yard would not provide protection for Meghan Markle.

"If he's so concerned about it he's fortunate to have the funds through himself or his family. There are royalty protection officers, retired, who have set up consultancies and who do work for members of the royal family."

Press Association

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