One of the burly bodyguards escorting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle around New York City has claimed to work for the Department of Homeland Security.
The bodyguard, dressed in a smart grey suit and black wingtips that had been resoled with comfortable sneaker soles, was spotted outside the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday between jaunts escorting the couple.
The man told a DailyMail.com reporter that he was with DHS, but didn’t specify which agency, leaving possible federal involvement in the couple’s visit to New York a mystery.
Harry and Meghan’s tour on Thursday included visits with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul at the 9/11 memorial and One World Trade Center, as well as a trip to UN Plaza, where the general assembly is in session, for a suspected meeting with US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
One of the burly bodyguards (left) escorting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle around New York City has claimed to work for the Department of Homeland Security
The man (right) told a DailyMail.com reporter that he was with DHS, but didn’t specify which agency, leaving possible federal involvement in the couple’s visit to New York a mystery
DHS did not immediately respond to multiple inquiries from DailyMail.com. The federal department encompasses a number of agencies with sworn police services, including the Secret Service, Federal Protective Service, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The Secret Service typically only protects visiting heads of state and their immediate families within the US, while lesser dignitaries fall under the protection of the State Department, according to former Secret Service Agent Jonathan Wackrow.
Wackrow said that the UN general assembly had stretched the resources of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, which has protected Prince Harry during past official visits to the US when he was a working Royal.
He said that it was possible that HSI or other agents from another DHS agency were supplementing the State Department’s protective efforts during the busy UN session.
‘Right now, under the United Nations General Assembly, it’s all hands on deck for federal protection,’ Wackrow told DailyMail.com in a phone interview.
‘HSI have been brought in to provide supplemental protection… you may have this agent from HSI supplementing that detail,’ he said of the Duke and Duchess’ protective team.
The Secret Service typically only protects visiting heads of state and their families within the US, while lesser dignitaries fall under the protection of the State Department
The mystery bodyguard (left) was dressed in a smart grey suit and black wingtips that had been resoled with comfortable sneaker soles
Wackrow noted that, although they have stepped down from official duties, Harry and Meghan are still family members of the British head of state, and thus might reasonably expect some government protection while in a high threat environment, such as Manhattan during the general assembly.
‘While they are not the head of state for the United Kingdom, they are part of the head of state’s family and at times such as summits, global gatherings, it is warranted they receive some level of protection, even if it is taxpayer funded protection,’ he said.
‘If something were to happen in New York, and the government were not extending protection to the Duke and Duchess, that would be a major diplomatic incident,’ said Wackrow.
The couple is in New York to attend Saturday’s Global Citizen Live event at Central Park to encourage equal access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It was their first joint outing since the birth of their daughter Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor in June.
Their first stop Thursday morning was at the observatory at One World Trade Center, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were accompanied by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their son, Dante de Blasio.
The unidentified bodyguard shadows Harry and Meghan as they arrive at the World Trade Center for a meeting with Mayor de Blasio
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle arrive at the World Trade Center Observatory
The couple is in New York to attend Saturday’s Global Citizen Live event at Central Park to encourage equal access to COVID-19 vaccines
The 37-year-old prince and Meghan, 40, also paid their respects at the nearby September 11 memorial and stopped by the adjoining museum.
At around 12.30pm the couple again left the lavish $1,300-a-night Carlyle Hotel, where they are staying, for a mystery meeting near the UN.
Around 2pm they were spotted leaving 50 UN Plaza, where they are thought to have met with US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Meghan clutched what appeared to be a black leather laptop case which matched her dark outfit, sunglasses and face mask as she and Harry exited the residential building close to the United Nations Global Headquarters and clambered into their waiting cars.
The details of the Sussexes’ trip to the Big Apple are a closely guarded secret but they were thought to be meeting the UN official in the residential building, which houses the lavish 37-floor penthouse which she calls home.
The couple stepped down from royal duties in early 2020 and are living in California with their two children.