British police bodyguards are guarding Meghan, Harry and Archie in Vancouver – but have been partnered with ‘Mounties’ as the row over who will pay the multi-million pound annual bill rumbles on, MailOnline can reveal today.
A smiling Meghan was pictured walking through a forest with Archie and her two dogs yesterday trailed by one of her regular British security men, who was accompanied by a Canadian counterpart.
The Duke of Sussex, who landed in the country last night, has travelled across the Atlantic by at least two Met close protection officers earning more than £100,000-a-year, not including overtime or expenses.
Scotland Yard has said they ‘never comment on personal protection matters’ – while The Royal Canadian Mounted Police haven’t comment either as experts claimed the cost of protecting the Sussexes abroad could be between £3million and £6million.
A security source told MailOnline today: ‘Meghan is being guarded by her long-term British police bodyguard who has been paired with a Canadian Mountie. Harry flew in with Met officers last night. This is likely to be the arrangement for the Sussexes going forward until the deal over who pays is thrashed out’.
There is fury in both Britain and Canada that taxpayers could be forced to pay for the Sussexes’ bodyguards despite – with a ‘cost-sharing’ deal between the two countries being predicted.
Meghan Markle, Archie and the Sussexes two dogs were followed by two police bodyguards today – one from Scotland Yard in Britain and the other from Canada’s famous armed ‘Mountie’ unit
Harry leaves his plane at Victoria International airport after taking a commercial flight from Vancouver flanked by two bodyguards
An insider has said that the Sussexes probably have a team of six police protecting them 24/7 at their Vancouver mansion – three from the UK and three from Canada.
The source said: ‘While British royal protection officers can carry arms in Canada they will be working closely with their Canadian colleagues to ensure the best possible security.’
Mounties were stationed outside Meghan’s house in Toronto when she began dating the Duke in 2016 – and already protect Canada’s Governor General, the Queen’s representative in the country.
Experts have said The Royal Canadian Mounted Police would be obliged to do the same for her grandson, his wife and great-grandson, even if the family keeps British royal protection officers with them.
Despite the Megxit deal being hammered out at the Sandringham summit hosted by the Queen this month, there are still a number of unanswered questions about who will fund the couple once they settle abroad – and how they will make money.
There is a row brewing because the British taxpayer could pick up the couple’s estimated £3million security bill because an American private firm would be ‘woefully ill-equipped’ to protect the high profile couple.
Dai Davies, who led the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection unit, said: ‘Ultimately I think the British public will still be paying for it.
‘The private security firms simply cannot cope with the professional demands that protecting Harry and Meghan would put on them.
‘By moving abroad they are making it harder to set up adequate protection.’
Meghan Markle took son Archie and her dogs Oz and Guy for a walk in the woods in Vancouver yesterday as her husband Harry flew in from the UK
Hours later Harry landed on a BA flight to Vancouver Int (left). Harry flew on to Victoria airport on a smaller plane and smiled as he arrived having been away from his wife and son for almost two weeks
Who pays for Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle, where does their cash come from and how much could they make in North America?
The government department covers Harry, Meghan and Archie’s 24/7 Met police security – estimated at £600,000-a-year. With overtime, travel and accommodation expenses this would likely reach £1million.
However experts have said that this could reach £3million to £6million – with British taxpayers expected to pick up some or all of the bill despite the couple living in Canada.
The details have not yet been agreed but sources expect the Home Office to pick up some or all of the bill when their royal duties end in the spring.
Harry receives up to £2.3million annually from his father’s royal estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
It is understood that Charles will continue to fund his son for the first year at least, either via the Duchy of Cornwall, the estate which provides him with private funding, or more likely from his own personal investments from income such as his bequest from the late Queen Mother. No public funds will be used.
Harry inherited around £20million from his mother, Princess Diana, who died when he was 12.
The Queen Mother also left him up to £7million.
Much of his cash is tied up in trust funds with some of the money kept from him until his 40th birthday
Meghan has a personal fortune of £4million, mainly from her acting work and property in Canada.
Currently the Sussexes’ bodyguards cost around £1million-a-year – but experts claim this could reach £3million if they spend most of their time in Canada. Some Canadians claim it could be £6million.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had intimated that his country would pick up some of the expense – but a poll of 1,154 Canadian adults found last week that 73 per cent do not want their government to pay for the couple’s security costs.
Canada covers royal security costs on official visits when Scotland Yard close protection teams also travel.
Under the Canadian criminal code, an internationally protected person (IPP) who requires state-funded security is defined as ‘a head of state’ or member of their family.
Meghan and Harry are expected to lose that IPP status under Canadian law now they are no longer full time royals.
But former Mountie officer, Larry Busch, who has also protected the royals, has predicted Canada would still have to agree to a ‘cost-sharing’ agreement with the UK even though the couple have lost their HRH.
Mr Busch, who runs his own firm, Strategic Security, estimated that the couple would need a protection team of 24 RCMP officers at an annual cost of £1.2million. ‘We don’t want any of the royals injured or embarrassed while they are here so it behoves us to apply the proper level of security.
‘Hollywood people get security provided by private companies. Politicians will get security provided by police officers and that would be the case here.’
Scotland Yard has already had to nearly double its flight budget to cover the escalating cost of protecting the globe-trotting royals on official visits and holidays.
Taxpayers faced a £4.6million bill for officers’ flights in the year to March 31, 2019, almost double the £2.5million in 2016.
The police already struggle to train enough specialist officers to cope with increasing royal security demands.
Despite the Home Office recommending a 20 per cent rise in Scotland Yard bodyguards in 2017, the force said it had found it ‘extremely difficult’ to obtain the necessary training courses, adding that maintaining security has meant a ‘reliance on overtime’.