Meghan & Harry May Skip Prince Philip's Memorial for This Shocking Reason
The couple are figuring out how to stay safe while in the U.K.
It was expected that this year would mark Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's return with their family to the U.K., but now, it seems that their plans are up in the air. As reported by Page Six, due to an ongoing issue involving security for the couple when they visit England, they may not be able to attend a memorial for the late Prince Philip this spring. Philip, Harry's grandfather, died in April 2021, and while Harry was able to attend his funeral, Meghan did not join him and has not been back to the country since she and Harry stepped down as working royals in March 2020.
The issue involving Harry and Meghan and whether they can hire their own security when in the U.K. is complicated. Read on to find out more and to see how the situation could affect their 2022 plans, including their attendance at a major event for Queen Elizabeth.
Harry is challenging a legal decision.
As reported by CNN, Harry is challenging a government decision that prevents him from paying for his own security while in the U.K. Reportedly, negotiations involving whether the prince is allowed to pay for his own security date back to January 2020 when Harry and Meghan were deciding to step down as working royals. According to the report, in September 2021, Harry requested a judicial review of the decision, which is still ongoing.
In response to the news, a government spokesperson told CNN, "The U.K. government's protective security system is rigorous and proportionate. It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements. To do so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals' security. It would also not be appropriate to comment on the detail of any legal proceedings."
Without security, Harry is "unable to return to his home."
A representative for Harry released a statement on Jan. 16 explaining why the prince needs security in the U.K. and should be allowed to hire it himself since it is no longer provided to him.
"Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life," the statement reads, as reported by BuzzFeed News. "He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats. While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family."
The statement continues, "As is widely known, others who have left public office and have an inherent threat risk receive police protection at no cost to them. The goal for Prince Harry has been simple—to ensure the safety of himself and his family while in the U.K. so his children can know his home country." Harry is "willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer." Reportedly, the level of security he has hired in the U.S. "cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed" when he is in the U.K.
Harry and Meghan spoke out about security concerns during their Oprah interview.
In their interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Meghan and Harry addressed the issue of their protective detail.
"I never thought that I would have my security removed, because I was born into this position. I inherited the risk. So that was a shock to me. That was what completely changed the whole plan," Harry said (via BuzzFeed News).
Meghan added, "I even wrote letters to his family saying, 'Please, it's very clear the protection of me or Archie is not a priority. I accept that. That is fine. Please keep my husband safe. I see the death threats. I see the racist propaganda. Please keep him safe. Please don't pull his security and announce to the world when he and we are most vulnerable.' And they said it's just not possible."
The couple want to take their children to visit their family.
While Harry has returned to the U.K. since he and Meghan stepped down—for Prince Philip's funeral and for the unveiling of a memorial to his mother, Princess Diana—Meghan and their children have not visited. In fact, the couple's daughter, Lilibet, has not met her British family members following her birth in June 2021. Page Six reports that Harry would like to be able to take Lilibet and older brother Archie to see them.
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They may return for the Platinum Jubilee.
Ever since Meghan and Harry moved to the U.S., there have been varying reports about when they might return to the U.K. together. In December, reports came out about whether or not they would visit for Christmas, which they didn't end up doing. Now, with the security situation it is unclear whether they will travel to attend Philip's memorial.
There is another upcoming event that could mark their return instead. This year, Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, which recognizes 70 years on the throne. As explained on the royal family website, the celebrations will take place in early June and include the Queen's birthday parade, also known as Trooping the Colour.