Duchess of Sussex faced 'very real' threats to her life, says former counter-terror chief

Watch: Disgusting plots against Meghan Markle investigated, says Neil Basu

Scotland Yard investigated numerous credible threats against the life of the Duchess of Sussex, the former head of counter terrorism policing has said.

Neil Basu, who is retiring from the Metropolitan Police after 30 years, said the threats were “disgusting” and “very real”.

He said there was a genuine threat to the Duchess’s life more than once and the Met had teams of officers investigating and assessing the risk.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, hours before retiring from the Met, Mr Basu was asked if threats to Prince Harry’s wife were credible.

He said: “Absolutely, and if you'd seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it… the kind of rhetoric that’s online, if you don’t know what I know, you would feel under threat all of the time.”

He added: “We had teams investigating it. People have been prosecuted for those threats.”

Duchess - Samir Hussein/WireImage
Duchess - Samir Hussein/WireImage

In 2018, before the couple were married, they were caught up in an anthrax scare after a poison pen letter containing white powder was posted to Harry and Meghan.

The suspect package, which contained an offensive message aimed at the couple, was intercepted after being sent to St James’s Palace.

Specialist officers were called in to investigate and tests later confirmed that the powder was harmless.

Neil Basu - PA
Neil Basu - PA

The Duchess is also understood to have received a large volume of messages and letters containing racist abuse.

Mr Basu was the country’s head of counter terrorism policing between 2018 and 2021 but missed on becoming the Met Commissioner or the head of the National Crime Agency after clashing with Priti Patel, the former Home Secretary.