Prince Harry says his family 'cut him off': Who gets security in the Royal Family?

·Royal Correspondent
·6 min read

Watch: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan: Tyler Perry paid for our security

Prince Harry has claimed he was "cut off" financially by his family after stepping back from his senior royal role in January 2020.

The Duke of Sussex said his, Meghan and Archie's security was cut, which he indicated was a reason behind their decision to move to California from Canada, where they had been saying after quitting as senior royals early last year.

During an incendiary interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple revealed Hollywood producer Tyler Perry helped them with security when they arrived in California as they worked out what they needed to do.

Harry said: "My family literally cut me off financially and I had to afford security for us… in the first quarter of 2020."

He added: "Their justification was a change in status. I pushed back and said is there a change of threat or risk?

“Eventually, I got the confirmation that no, the risk hasn’t changed but due to our change of status – we would no longer be ‘official’ members of the royal family.”

Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back in January 2020, confirming in mid-February that they would stop being "working royals" from 31 March 2020.

During their stay in Canada, their security was provided by the Canadian government. However, prime minister Justin Trudeau confirmed he would end that support after the status of Harry and Meghan changed at the end of MArch.

So, later that month, the Sussexes moved to California when they began the 12-month "transition period", which would given them the time and space they needed to review the situation if they needed.

The residence of Prince Harry and and his wife Meghan is seen in Deep Cove Neighborhood  from a boat on the Saanich Inlet, North Saanich, British Columbia on January 21, 2020. - The new neighbors have been spotted out hiking and down at the farmers' market, but residents of North Saanich say they will ensure privacy for Harry and Meghan at their Canadian island hideaway. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, along with their baby son Archie, are living at the scenic, wooded property of Mille Fleurs on Vancouver Island after exiting from their royal roles. (Photo by Mark GOODNOW / AFP) (Photo by MARK GOODNOW/AFP via Getty Images)
Harry said their security was cut off when they were here, in Canada, in early 2020. (Mark Goodnow/AFP)

Read more: Harry and Meghan interview: Was Archie denied a royal title when he was born?

Royal financial expert David McClure told Yahoo UK: "I was surprised when he said he had been cut off financially, he did get payments of up to £2.5m [from Prince Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall] to cover any additional costs of the transition. It was not as if he was totally cut off.

"That was very generous.

"That money was to be used in any way he so wished, including security, everyone knew security was going to be a big cost, that should not be forgotten.

"It happened very quickly, he had to leave Canada for California very quickly due to COVID, that was no one's fault.

"I think he is being a bit amnesiac in some of these comments.

"He said he still had his inheritance, that is true, but it is not the whole story. He had millions, he had an army pension, not a lot but it's money.

"No one is suggesting Meghan does not have money, so there's that."

Estimates of Harry's worth include nearly £7 million inherited from Diana, though this will have grown with investment. Meghan was thought to be worth £2-£3 million, in 2020, making a reported £333,000 per season for six runs of the legal drama Suits.

McClure, author of The Queen's True Worth, added: "There is no money from the Queen Mother's trust fund but the Queen has set up one of her own for her family.

"I don't think he has understood the royal finances. Whenever he is in Britain the taxpayer will pay for his security."

When Harry and Meghan set out their plans to step back, they said they wanted to "work to become financially independent".

They suggested in the interview with Winfrey that other people who strike the balance which they sought exist, describing family members who earn money but also support the Queen.

Watch: Meghan and Harry interview: Queen makes it deliberately clear Palace may not agree

Read more: Prince Charles 'chuckles' when asked about Harry and Meghan in first public appearance since interview

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie both have jobs, and though they do appear at family events, like Trooping the Colour and Royal Ascot, they don't ever represent the Queen.

Their security is not paid for by the taxpayer.

Prince Michael of Kent, one of the Queen's cousins, manages his own consultancy business but has in the past represented the Queen in the Commonwealth, though never in the UK.

According to his website, he does not receive any money from the taxpayer.

Prince Michael's website explains: "Engagements undertaken by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are not included in the Court Circular because they do not usually carry out official duties on behalf of The Queen.

"Prince Michael is not eligible for the parliamentary annuities received by other members of the Royal Family, because he is a second son."

The Royal Family's website says: "Prince and Princess Michael receive no public money, but do undertake a range of public duties, including representing The Queen at certain engagements. For example, Prince Michael has represented The Queen at State funerals in India, Cyprus and Swaziland."

The last engagement listed with a date is 2006.

There was some controversy in 2002 when it was revealed he and his wife only paid £69 a week to live in an apartment in Kensington Palace, but the Queen stepped into pay their rent.

The move was said to be because of the work the prince and princess did without taking any public money.

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Princess Michael of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent attend the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at St George's Chapel on May 18, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)
Princess Michael of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent don't receive public money but do live in an apartment in Kensington Palace. (Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)

Security is a tricky issue for the royals, and is not something the palace ever discusses publicly.

The bill for protecting the Royal Family is reported to cost the UK about £100 million a year.

Close protection for the royals is provided by the Royalty and Specialist Protection division of the Metropolitan Police.

Former royal protection officer Simon Morgan told ITV: "Even when the principals are away from the public glare, they still need protection.

"The royal family have protection from cradle to grave, 24/7, 365 days a year.

"All the time."

Explaining how the decision might have played out, Morgan told The Telegraph: "The government committee on VIP and royal security makes the decision about who does and doesn’t get protection. It is not in the Queen’s gift to give protection or take it away.

"Once Harry and Meghan step down as working royals, they become high net worth individuals/A-list celebrities but that doesn’t entitle them to taxpayer-funded security.

"Elton John has to pay for his own security and so do Harry and Meghan."

After the so-called Sandringham Summit in 2020, where the terms of Harry and Meghan stepping back were set out, a Buckingham Palace statement said "Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements.

"There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security."

A statement from the palace on behalf of the Queen following the Winfrey interview said: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

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