President Donald Trump says the United States will not foot the estimated $1 million-a-year bill for security for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the couple jetted to California amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Page Six reported on Friday that the couple left their $14 million bolthole in Canada and took a private jet to the Los Angeles area after President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the borders were closing amid the coronavirus crisis.
There were reports the pair – who have both criticized President Trump – may need to ask him for “special help” for security protection because the UK taxpayer will no longer fund their guards following their decision to step down as senior royals.
However, Trump tweeted on Sunday, “I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!”
A rep for Harry and Meghan said, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have no plans to ask the US government for security resources. Privately funded security arrangements have been made.”
As of March 31, Harry and Meghan lose their status of being “internationally protected” because of Megxit. Had they remained part of the British royal family, they would have been entitled to protection from armed US Secret Service agents during their time in America.
It was reported that Harry would have to make a request to the State Department for US-funded protection, but the decision ultimately rested with President Trump.
Now the president has declined to pick up the bill, it could be up to British taxpayers to foot the cost of security for the former senior royals, which has been estimated to cost up to $1 million a year. However, UK reports say that from next week, the cost of Harry and Meghan’s security will either have to be funded by themselves or his father Prince Charles, who is currently quarantined in Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.
Trump’s refusal to pay for protection for Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, comes just weeks after Harry — who is close to former president Barack Obama — was apparently caught on tape accusing the president of having “blood on his hands.”
Harry allegedly fell for a prank call from Russian hoaxers who posed as activist Greta Thunberg and her father, and apparently said on the tape, “I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry… in America, he has blood on his hands.” He added, “Unfortunately the world is being led by some very sick people.”
Meghan has previously called Trump “divisive” and said she would not live in the US while he was president, although this situation has clearly changed.
Trump, meanwhile, called Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down as senior royals as “sad.” He said in a January interview, “I have such respect for the Queen. I don’t think this should be happening to her.”