It shouldn’t come as a surprise that protecting Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s wedding at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19, wasn’t exactly an easy feat — and cost an estimated $40 million. And now that Meghan is officially a member of the British royal family, she will continue to have special security treatment.
“Since her relationship with Prince Harry went public, she has been under full protection,” royal police expert Chris Jagger tells Us Weekly. “To be forever in the public eye with very limited privacy isn’t a life suited to all. But as I understand it, both Meghan and Harry spent a significant period of time discussing and exploring whether or not this was the sort of life she wanted. She is surrounded by wise advisers who will help her make the transition from her old life into her new one.”
The Escorting the Monarch author says the Suits alum likely won’t have to change her phone number and will receive “various different types of security advice.” She will have 24/7 security, even when she goes shopping or goes to a restaurant.
“The British style of security is relatively low-key though, with her protection officers especially trained to blend in to all sorts of environments,” Jagger notes. “Whilst on official public duties with Prince Harry, she will receive a high security escort provided by the elite Special Escort Group — a motorcycle escort team that will lead her motorcade through London, elegantly weaving through traffic like a flock of swans.”
Meghan (née Markle) can also drive solo if she’d like, but she will have to receive special training and a police escort. The expert points out that many members of the royal family drive alone, but “most of them tend to accept and benefit from the services of a royal chauffeur” due to their hectic schedules.
Jagger — who has worked for the British government, United Nations and NATO, in addition to being the son of a retired officer from the Metropolitan Police Service’s SEG — tells Us that the former actress’ mother, Doria Ragland, and father, Thomas Markle, will also be provided with her own security should they attend events with their daughter. Otherwise, the divorced couple will need to pay for their own private teams.
The writer tells Us that security planning for the royal wedding started before Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, even announced their engagement and continued to increase in the final months leading up to the big day. He says members of the public who had scored coveted viewing spots within the grounds of the castle had to “pass through a basic airport-style level of security through controlled access points.”
Jagger also notes that police officers tried to “win over the support of the crowds,” which he says are the “most likely ones to spot something suspicious.” He explains that at one point, two officers even led a “massive Mexican wave” with thousands of royal watchers.
With reporting by Marc Lupo.