Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle is being protected around the clock by a security detail paid for by her employers, DailyMailTV reveals Thursday.
The team is understood to have been hired locally in Toronto, where the Suits star lives, but well-placed sources said that the bill is being footed by NBC Universal, the American media giant which makes her TV show, legal drama Suits.
The detail was engaged because of Markle’s growing profile, fueled this week by her first public appearance with the prince, at his Invictus Games in Toronto.
Although there is not understood to be a specific threat, the combination of her growing public profile and an awareness that Harry has claimed there have been social media attacks on Markle for her biracial heritage appear to have prompted to move.
High-profile: The public nature of Meghan Markle’s relationship with Prince Harry has prompted her to receive full-time security from her employers NBC, who make Suits
In the bubble: When she was seen with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games on Monday, the couple were escorted by uniformed local police as well as the prince’s regular Scotland Yard protection officers
Dedicated watch: Security personnel are now discreetly on guard close to Markle’s home in an upscale Toronto suburb. DailyMail.com is obscuring the identity of the guards
Preparations: The new security measures at Markle’s rented home include security CCTV cameras allowing movements outside to be monitored
Hi-tech: The CCTV cameras are part of the array of security measures given to Markle by her NBC bosses. She is not entitled to taxpayer-funded protection from Canada or the UK
And although the actress, 36, briefly enjoyed protection from bodyguards during Saturday night’s Invictus Games Opening Ceremony, boyfriend Prince Harry, 33, is not funding the detail.
Currently, Los Angeles-born Meghan is not entitled to taxpayer-funded protection in Canada because she is not an official member of the royal family.
However, if the couple were to become engaged and she were to remain in Toronto, it is likely that her security would be taken over by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who provide protective services to the royals while they are in the country.
If she were to move to the UK after an engagement, it is likely that she would follow in the footsteps of Kate Middleton, who was given Scotland Yard royal protection officers when she became engaged to Prince William in 2010.
Prior to becoming engaged to Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge was looked after by a security team paid for by her now husband using his private fortune.
Harry, who also has a private income, could have done the same for Meghan but it is her employer who has stepped in.
Along with funding Meghan’s personal protection team, NBC Universal is also understood to have paid for security measures at her home and on the Suits set.
At Meghan’s rented home, in Toronto’s hip Annex district, new security cameras have been installed front and back, and a team performs regular sweeps of the street.
Neighbors told DailyMail.com that security becomes even more intense when Harry is staying at the home, with one saying the street is ‘full of police’ when he is there.
Guarded: On Saturday night at the Invictus Games’ opening ceremony, a security team including three bodyguards stood watch in a stairwell next to the actress’s seat. One is one of Harry’s Scotland Yard protection officers
New scrutiny: Security has been stepped up on the set of Suits. Markle’s co-star Patrick J. Adams was seen filming on the streets of Toronto close to one of Prince Harry’s engagements, but Markle herself is believed to have been filming only on the studio lot
New interest: Suits, which has filmed seven series in Toronto – the Canadian city plays New York for the show – now has unprecedented interest from fans hoping to see Markle
Star: Meghan Markle plays Rachel Zane in the show alongside Patrick J. Adams who plays Mike Ross. Security around the set has been stepped up
Canadian base: Prince Harry is staying at the Fairmont Royal York, where he met Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday. Markle has been staying with her but on Friday night before the games began, they enjoyed a cosy evening at her suburban home
The prince stayed at Markle’s home last Friday night before the opening ceremony of the games.
One resident, who asked not to be named, added: ‘She [Meghan] hasn’t been around much for the last few days – Friday night they were here.
‘I tell you, when he’s [Harry] here, the street is full of police and security people. They just go straight in and they don’t come out.’
A builder Mike, who is working in the street Meghan’s, added: ‘She usually has guys in a dark car – I’ve seen them escorting her in and they try to shield her a bit.
She’s very nice – I saw her the other day and she smiled and waved at us. The owner of this house knows Meghan very well; she’s good friends with her.
‘When I started working here, she told me not to worry if I see security stepped up because that means Harry is here.
‘She has her own security people but when he is here, there are more.’
Kensington Palace declined to comment. NBC Universal has been approached for comment by DailyMailTV.
Harry, who is in Toronto for the Invictus Games, is staying at the four-star Fairmont Royal York hotel and was joined there on Saturday night by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Rooms at the property start at $277 per night and go up to $1,875 for the 16-room Royal Suite.
The royal has apparently sneaked Markle into his room each night.
Harry, who has been dating the Californian actress for 14 months, is understood to have arrived in Toronto few days before the start of the Invictus Games.
Prince of hearts: Prince Harry has won more harts than Meghan Markle’s at the games – including two-year-old Emily Henson, the little girl who was stealing his popcorn as she and her mother, Hayley, watched the sitting volleyball finals
International presence: Prince Harry congratulated Ryan Major of the USA on his bronze medal in indoor rowing at the games – the USA is one of the 14 countries taking part
During that time, he paid a visit to the Suits set where he was shown around by a proud Meghan.
The show is due to continue filming until the end of the year but it has not yet been revealed whether Meghan plans to sign on for another season.
Harry’s Invictus Games will end on Saturday with a closing concert at the Air Canada Centre.
Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen are among the acts scheduled to perform in front of an audience that will include Prince Harry – and possibly Markle as well.
The ramping-up of security has limited Markle’s previously prominent place on the Toronto social scene.
Shinan Govani, a ‘social chronicler’ at the Toronto Sun, described the actress as being ‘on lockdown’ to DailyMail.com and said she has virtually ‘disappeared’ from the social scene.
‘She’s sort of disappeared,’ he explained. ‘She hasn’t been showing up to parties since the news broke [of her relationship with Harry]. She’s been on lockdown.’
Before then Markle had been a fixture on the social circuit of Canada’s largest city.
Govani, an acquaintance of Meghan’s, met her through close friend Cory Vitiellio – a high profile chef who enjoyed a romance with the actress prior to Harry.
Other friends she was seen with included Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, the prime minister’s wife, and Jessica Mulroney, the 37-year-old stylist daughter-in-law of Brian Mulroney, the former Canadian prime minister.
Vitellio, who was cooking at a private dinner at the opposite end of town the night Meghan made her very public Invictus Games debut, has never spoken about the relationship.
‘Everything there revolves around that need for security now,’ Govani said.
‘She’s sort of living in a cocoon and she’s very careful about who she talks to, at work and everywhere else.’
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