Prince Charles invites Harry and Meghan to stay with him in UK in the hope of meeting Lilibet for the first time… but Sussexes’ refusal to return without Met Police protection puts reunion in doubt
The Prince of Wales is yet to see his granddaughter face-to-face, after she was born in California in June last year.
The offer, which would be the first time the family have fully come together since Harry and Meghan decided to quit as working royals, was made just before Christmas, according to the Mirror.
However, his son’s refusal to return without a substantial level of security from the Met Police is said to have put the reunion in doubt.
In recent months, the family have communicated via a series of ‘good natured’ calls, sources told the paper.
The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter Lilibet was released in a Christmas card last month
The Prince of Wales (centre), during his visit to Haddo Country Park, Ellon, Aberdeenshire last week
What it really costs to guard Sussexes
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s security team in Canada was made up of at least six £60,000-a-year Scotland Yard protection officers.
But experts say the true cost of each officer would have been closer to £100,000 a year when taking into consideration overtime, flights back and forth to the UK, pension contributions and living expenses.
The couple spent more than three months in Canada before moving to California in March 2020 when they are reported to have hired top-of-the-range security firm Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA), used by A-listers including Jeff Bezos, Tom Hanks and Madonna.
The team from GDBA – described as a ‘secret service for famous people’ – is rumoured to cost about £7,000 per day, or £2.5million a year.
Harry and Meghan are likely to have been provided a team of six bodyguards, which could include former intelligence officers from the FBI and CIA, who work in rotation, with four on duty by day and two at night.
The couple’s American security would have no jurisdiction in the UK or access to intelligence information.
One said: ‘The Prince of Wales has been saddened that he hasn’t had the opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren, which he really does miss.
‘He is a fantastic grandfather and loves playing the role immensely and it’s certainly fair to say he feels there is something missing from his life without the ability to get to know Harry’s children.
‘This is something he is hoping to remedy which is why he made the gesture for Harry, Meghan and the children to stay with him if they wanted to, whenever they may come home for a period of time.’
It comes as a former head of royal protection warned today that Prince Harry ‘cannot pick and choose’ when he wants to visit the UK and receive protection.
The Duke of Sussex should not be expecting bodyguards supplied to him when he decides to return home, Dai Davies said.
The ex-Met Police officer pointed out Princess Anne was nearly kidnapped and her protection officer was shot – but she does not get full time protection.
His comments came as sources suggested the Queen will not help her grandson in his demand for security personnel when he comes to Britain.
The insiders claimed the Monarch has no intentions of ‘caving into his demands’ for protection from the Met and Home Office.
Prince Harry faced outrage yesterday over his threat of legal action against Her Majesty’s Government.
He is seeking a judicial review of the decision to strip him of his UK police protection team, claiming it is too dangerous to visit without Scotland Yard bodyguards.
Last night there was anger at the unprecedented legal threat against the government as sources hit back saying: ‘Scotland Yard is not available for hire’.
Mr Davies, who was Operational Unit Commander for the Royals from 1995, told GMB: ‘He chose to go to America, that’s his prerogative.
‘And it’s our prerogative to ensure when we look at any aspect of protection, any member of the Royal Family that we actually look and assess it through various security agencies. That’s the crux.
‘And it’s been decided in this level, one they won’t supply him with protection because the risk at this stage is deemed low.
‘However should there be a risk when he comes then clearly the Metropolitan Police would be duty bound.’