Prince Harry and Meghan to be protected by ‘ring of steel’ during UK visit

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex - TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Youth charities have implemented the strictest of security measures to allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to visit safely on Monday, with the couple expected to miss seeing their own family in favour of a post-royal tour.

Organisers of the One Young World conference in Manchester and the WellChild Awards in London are operating under a “ring of steel” as the Sussexes attend, amid a row about the couple’s personal security arrangements.

The Duke, who has successfully applied for a judicial review of a decision to provide Met Police security for his family only on a case-by-case basis, was previously said to have been chased by photographers following a Covid-secure version of the children’s charity awards in 2021.

While they have not suggested any blame on the part of organisers or guests, the incident has been used to argue that the Duke and his family should receive permanent royal protection when they visit Britain.

This year, event organisers are operating under the strictest levels of secrecy, with venue details released only to accredited guests and confirmed photographers.

At the One Young World conference, which takes place in the 2,300-seat Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, staff will clear the surrounding area 90 minutes before the opening ceremony takes place, ejecting any unauthorised bystanders.

Unless resolved, the security dispute is said to prohibit the Duke and Duchess from flying to Balmoral to see the Queen this week, after mobility issues left Her Majesty in too much discomfort to travel south.

The Prince of Wales is also in Scotland all week and is not expected to see his younger son.

Buck Palace balcony - Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
Buck Palace balcony – Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

The failure of Prince Charles and Prince Harry to meet will be seen as particularly significant among royal watchers, with the heir to the throne previously keen to keep the door open despite very public accusations from Harry about his upbringing and financial arrangements.

Last week, a source close to the Prince emphasised his “love” for his sons.

The Sussexes landed in the UK on Saturday morning, having flown from California by commercial airline.

They will be based at Frogmore Cottage, just a short walk from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new home, but without plans to visit them.

Prince Harry and Meghan will instead return to several organisations they worked with during their time in the Royal family.

On Monday, they will travel to Manchester for the One Young World summit, where the Duchess will deliver opening remarks.

Both will also attend a roundtable on the theme of gender equality. They hosted a similar event at Windsor Castle in 2019 during the same conference.

This time, it comes in the middle of the Duchess’s podcast series about misogyny and the stereotypes facing women.

On Tuesday, they will fly to Dusseldorf for the afternoon to promote a one-year countdown to the next Invictus Games.

The Duke will deliver remarks to a press conference but will not answer questions from the press.

On Thursday, both will appear at the WellChild Awards to celebrate the lives of sick children and those who care for them.

Greater Manchester Police told the Sun its officers were not providing a “dedicated police resource”, with the source saying it is “being privately secured”.

The Met declined to comment on security matters.

The decision on whether the Duke and Duchess receive personal protection rested with a specialist Home Office panel.

Until findings from the Duke’s judicial review are delivered, the need to provide publicly-funded officers for each trip is decided on merit, and on the basis of whether they are undertaking official engagements.

The Duke has previously said he wishes to pay for the service.

The Sussexes were said to be unaware of final decisions about their security for this trip as recently as two weeks ago.

Sources said the couple believe the impact their visit could have on the charities in terms of raising awareness and funds after a difficult lockdown period had convinced them of the importance of attending.

Confirming the Duke’s court battle earlier this year, a spokeswoman said: “During his last visit to the UK in July 2021 – to unveil a statue in honour of his late mother – his security was compromised due to the absence of police protection, whilst leaving a charity event.”

Published by anthonyhayble

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