The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have disclosed details about their security arrangements after US president Donald Trump announced America would not pay for their protection.
On the eve of Harry and Meghan stepping down as senior members of the monarchy, it was announced they had put in place “privately funded security arrangements” for their move to Los Angeles.
A spokeswoman for the couple took the unusual step of commenting about their protection plans after Mr Trump said in a tweet on Sunday he was a “great friend and admirer of the Queen and the United Kingdom” as he refused to foot the bill.
“It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada,” he said.
“Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!”
The duke and duchess will officially walk away from the royal family at the end of the day – starting a new life in America.
Harry and Meghan’s desire to earn money while remaining members of the monarchy was unworkable and so they chose to leave and become financially independent.
But their impending exit from The Firm – dubbed Megxit – comes as the country braces itself for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic expected in the coming weeks.
Harry’s father the Prince of Wales has tested positive for Covid-19 after experiencing mild symptoms and phoned Harry last week to tell him the news.
An official spokeswoman for the Sussexes said they had “no plans” to ask the US government for resources, following months of speculation about who would pay for their security when they step back as senior royals.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have no plans to ask the US government for security resources,” the spokeswoman said.
“Privately-funded security arrangements have been made.”
Harry and Meghan have moved from their exclusive Vancouver Island home to Los Angeles, where Meghan was born and grew up and her mother Doria Ragland still lives.
The duchess has a network of friends in the city and has effectively returned to her former life with husband and baby son Archie, and are now said to be living in lockdown close to Hollywood in accordance with the sunshine state’s Covid-19 containment measures.
The duke and duchess will formally step down as senior members of the monarchy from Tuesday and have already forged ahead with plans to create their new public roles.
It is said they want to make a change in the “armed forces arena” and will make the military central to their charitable work.
Reports have claimed issues such as medical care and homelessness for veterans and injured service personnel, both in the UK and the United States, are to be a focus of their new charitable organisation likely to be launched in the coming weeks.
The couple are also expected to announce a new name for their Sussexroyal brand in the next few days after they conceded in February the word royal could not be used following their decision to leave the monarchy.
Their popular Instagram account uses the name Sussexroyal, as does a website set up by the couple after their decision to to stop carrying out official royal duties in favour of financial freedom.
Meghan has already begun her life in the commercial world, narrating a new Disney film about a family of elephants and their journey across Africa available to stream from April 3.
She will not receive a payment – Disney will make a donation to the wildlife organisation Elephants Without Borders supported by Harry – but it will be a calling card to other global entertainment companies.
The couple faced criticism after video footage emerged of Harry at the premiere of The Lion King in London last July, praising Meghan’s ability to do voiceover work to the then head of Disney Bob Iger.
From Tuesday, the monarch’s grandson and his wife will no longer use their HRH styles as they pursue their new life of personal and financial freedom, mostly in North America.
But aides have said the couple, who are retaining Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, will be in the UK regularly.
Harry and Meghan’s goodbye tour – a flurry of UK appearances that concluded early in March – included the Endeavour Fund Awards, a military musical festival at the Royal Albert Hall, and Meghan’s secret visit to a school in Dagenham, east London, to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The final event was the couple’s last official appearance with the Queen and other senior royals – the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
Meghan will bow out of royal life from Tuesday just one year, 10 months and 12 days – or 682 days – after marrying into the family.
She spent almost five years longer appearing on screen in the US drama Suits.
The duchess, then Meghan Markle, starred as paralegal Rachel Zane between June 23 2011 and April 25 2018, totalling six years, 10 months and three days, or 2,499 days.
Harry and Meghan plunged the royal family into a period of crisis when they announced in January they wanted to step back as senior royals and become financially independent – a move dubbed Megxit by the press.
A summit of senior royals was convened by the Queen at Sandringham to discuss the issue, with Harry sitting down for talks with his grandmother, father the Prince of Wales and brother the Duke of Cambridge.
It was later announced they would give up royal duties, split their time between North America and the UK, with the majority spent overseas, no longer be known as HRH, and their lives as working royals would end on March 31.
In the months leading up to the couple’s January announcement the rift in the royal family was laid bare when Harry said in an ITV documentary he and brother William were on “different paths” and have good and bad days in their relationship.
Meghan admitted in the programme to feeling vulnerable, and spoke of the difficulty coping with intense tabloid interest, saying: “It’s not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. You have got to thrive.”
It remains to be seen whether the couple’s new life in America will bring them the happiness they crave.