The Megxit Chronicles: Harry Preps In London For His Last Events, Records In Abbey Road With Jon Bon Jovi, As The Canadian Government Balks At The Couple’s Reported $25 Million Annual Security Bill – Forbes
Who’s In The Band: Prince Harry, Jon Bon Jovi (second right) and members of the Choir pose at Abbey … [+] Road zebra crossing at Abbey Road Studios on February 28, 2020 in London. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Harry lightened up the dutiful proceedings of his last appearances as a royal on Friday with a recording session at London’s Abbey Road Studios — with no less a partner than Jon Bon Jovi, as well as the Endeavour choir, composed of former British military affiliated with Harry’s charity. They laid down some tracks and very much did not waste the photo opportunity at the famous Abbey Road crosswalk, as delightfully captured above. It’s this sort of cheek-for-a-good-cause that the British Royal Family, and the country, will be missing when Harry leaves up his official duties on March 31.
Back home in Canada, to date, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the officers of the Royalty and Specialist Protection unit of the London Metropolitan Police have divvied up the quite complex duties of resolving the security needs of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The operation is an extensive 24/7/365 one, given the heady cocktail of their stratospheric fame and the peripatetic young couple’s erratic schedules — here a million-dollar speaking engagement in Miami, there a consultation with some high-minded Stanford profs in Palo Alto — not to mention the securing of whatever size abode they are in or are about to be in, whether they are in residence or not. Unfortunately for them, for the Queen, Charles, and the monarchy, and for Scotland Yard, they are high-value targets. Just because they are retreating from “royal” life is not a distinction that will reduce that high value.
Ergo: What with salaries, lodging, rotations, and travel, it adds up to a roughly-estimated 16-man detail. One estimate puts this at some $25 million per annum.
Which is, in turn, why the Canadian government has just announced that it will very much not continue to contribute RCMP officers or funds to the Sussex security enterprise, thank you. The logic is that when, on March 31, the couple are officially no longer “royal,” and de facto engaged in private enterprise — aka, their “Brand” — the obligation of the Canadian government ceases.
Good Question, Especially At A Travalyst Event: An upstanding Scot makes his point outside the … [+] Edinburgh venue where Prince Harry was attending a green-travel conference. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
On his trip to Edinburgh for the Travalyst green-travel conference on February 26, Prince Harry flew with two security men who would have been supplemented by others after the flight. The reason Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Master Archie require heavy rotation on the team is that, as now, Harry sometimes works in one spot (London), while Meghan Markle and young Archie are in another (Canada).
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: Jon Bon Jovi arrives to meet Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and members … [+] of the Invictus Games Choir at Abbey Road Studios on February 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
In a few days, those security parameters will shift a few thousand miles, as Ms. Markle is slated to join her husband for three of his last events as a working royal, kicking off on March 5. As stated, given the inexorable march of Covid-19 in Britain, it may be that Master Archie remains in his Canadian redoubt, requiring a complement of the round-the-clock forces to stay there. If it works this way, as it is ever likelier to given the progress of the virus through Britain and Europe — as opposed to its relatively mild presence in the Pacific Northwest — that would mean that Meghan Markle would depart quickly after Commonwealth Day on March 9, the last scheduled event for the couple in service to the Queen.
But the point is that, in general, the complexity and intensity of the security planning is the reason that the subject of whom should be foot that bill for the couple occupied such pride of place in January’s round-table discussions with in their Charles and the Queen. It’s a big, complex deal. If the published security figures are to be trusted as it seems, they are a multiple of 10, roughly, of the $2.5 million-per-annum that Harry and Meghan receive from Charles via his Duchy of Cornwall. Whatever the true security tab winds up to be — and it will vary from year to year as the couple set themselves up — the Canadians want no part of what Silicon Valley would term the start-up burn rate for the Sussex brand.
Put a different way, as part of his own pater familias role in Megxit, Charles will have to put some thought into how the couple can bridge that. As fabulous as they may be, they have no hope of being able to carry that sort of freight right now.