The news that Harry and Meghan are being evicted from their Frogmore Cottage residence in Windsor to potentially make room for Prince Andrew has thrown into question the prospect of the Sussexes visiting the UK in the near future.
The couple moved into the royal residence on the Windsor Estate in 2019 and, despite stepping back from life as senior royals in January 2020, it continues to remain their UK residence and is used by the family when they travel to the UK.
However, with Harry and Meghan now packing their belongings and shipping them over to the US – with Andrew primed to move in later this year – it means the Duke of Sussex may not have anywhere else to stay in the future that he feels meets his security needs.
The issue of security has been a concern for the Sussexes for many months.
Harry is currently taking legal action against the Home Office over a decision not to allow him to pay for police protection for himself and his family when visiting from the US.
In February 2020, Harry was told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting – a decision the duke is now challenging.
He believes he requires personal protective security because a private security team would not have access to the kind of intelligence or jurisdiction needed to keep him and his family entirely safe.
Without a secure and private royal property to stay in that affords him and his family the protection he believes they need, it could mean the Sussexes will not return to the UK at any point soon.
A spokesperson for Harry said last year that the current situation renders him "unable" to come to the UK.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex personally fund a private security team for their family, yet that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK. In the absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return to his home," they said.
Whether the decision to remove the couple from Frogmore will impact the Sussexes' decision about attending King Charles's coronation on 6 May remains to be seen, last week Omid Scobie, Royal Executive Editor at Yahoo UK, revealed that they had "yet to be invited".
In his memoir Spare, Harry described that issues over his security arrangements have been a sticking point with the rest of the Royal Family since 2020 at the so-called Sandringham Summit when the option of a full break from the royal institution was first raised as being a potential result of the couple stepping back.
Harry said that he flagged at that point that he was "desperate" to keep his security arrangements in place.
"I told everyone assembled that, above all, I was desperate to keep security. That was what worried me most, my family’s physical safety. I wanted to prevent a repeat of history, another untimely death like the one that had rocked this family to its core twenty-three years earlier, and from which we were still trying to recover."
According to one royal expert, security for Harry and Meghan's most recent return to the UK – for Queen Elizabeth's funeral – was covered by wider royal security arrangements.
"They were living at Frogmore, their house on the Windsor estate protected by all the security that protects the Windsor Castle environment. They were protected by the royal infrastructure in cars, in the procession of Buckingham Palace, everywhere. I think there was likely no tension around security in terms of the funeral because there was so much security around it already," Nick Bullen told Fox News at the time.
The threats faced by Meghan in particular were put into sharp focus in November 2022 when former head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Neil Basu, revealed she had faced "disgusting and very real" threats from the far-right while living in the UK.
"If you'd seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it", Basu said, "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 that people "have been prosecuted for those threats".
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