Security team guarding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stay in a £1,100-a-week Airbnb house near the couple’s eight-bedroom Canadian mansion
- The detectives’ bolthole on Vancouver Island has sea views and is near a beach
- The arrangement will intensify the debate over cost of the couple protection
- Scotland Yard officers and Canadian Mounties have been providing security
A security team guarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has been put up in a luxury £1,100-a-week Airbnb house near the couple’s eight-bedroom Canadian mansion.
Described as idyllic, the detectives’ taxpayer-funded bolthole on Vancouver Island has sea views and access to a beach.
More officers are understood to be housed elsewhere on the island.
The Airbnb house was vacated when Harry flew to the UK five days ago for his final round of Royal duties. A neighbour said: ‘There used to be a security team there. They moved out a few days ago when Harry went. We haven’t seen them since.’
The arrangement will intensify the fierce debate about the cost of the couple’s round-the-clock protection, which since November has been provided by both Scotland Yard officers and Canadian Mounties.
In a humiliating blow last week, Canada announced it would quit guarding them on March 31 when they step down as working Royals to pursue lucrative commercial careers.
The eight-bedroom mansion where Price Harry and Megan Msrkle are staying on Vancouver island in British Columbia
Canada has a legal obligation to provide security to so-called internationally protected persons, but the couple’s ‘change in status’ will mean this no longer applies. This means the cost – which could run to millions of pounds – will fall solely on UK taxpayers.
Britain currently pays £600,000 for the Sussexes’ team of protection officers.
It is thought each costs around £100,000, which covers their salary, overtime, overseas allowance and pensions, and flights and accommodation.
But the couple’s permanent move overseas is likely to see costs rise significantly, with speculation that they would need at least 12 security officers.
The Metropolitan Police has calculated that the total annual bill could rise to £20 million, according to one report.
Critics say the Duke and Duchess should fund their own security after they become private citizens. Harry and Meghan insist they have a legal right to year-round protection for them and their son Archie.
It was previously reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had given the UK a commitment that his government would contribute to the costs, although this was never confirmed.
Recent polls found that only one in five Canadians believed paying for the couple’s security was an appropriate use of state funds, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation delivered an 80,000-signature petition to Mr Trudeau’s office opposing footing the bill.
Britain currently pays £600,000 for the Sussexes’ team of protection officers