Does Prince Harry Fear for Meghan Markle’s Safety in the U.K.?

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Dec 15, 2023

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s long-standing intricacies with the royal family have taken a dark turn. The recent news of their skipped Christmas trip to the U.K. has ignited a fresh wave of controversy, reigniting old debates about their security concerns.

This emphasizes the couple’s agency and the negative connotations surrounding their decision.

Harry and Meghan Markle's Request for Security Was Denied

In 2020, Harry’s request for a security detail was denied by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures, who stripped him and Meghan of “working” royal status and deemed them ineligible for government protection. Harry offered to pay for private security, but the committee blocked his attempt to hire government employees as personal bodyguards.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with other members of the Royal family going to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day 2017

Source: Mark Jones/Wikimedia Commons

This impasse left Harry frustrated and vulnerable, facing a security dilemma that would ultimately contribute to his and Meghan’s decision to step back from royal duties.

Harry's Attempt to Hire Security Hits a Royal Roadblock

The private security team hired by Harry would not be allowed to access many of the royal family’s private quarters. This limitation leaves the Duke of Sussex with few options, creating a massive headache for the couple.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walking off a plane

Source: Dackelprincess/Flickr

They took this issue to a London courtroom for a three-day hearing. However, Harry did not make an appearance in the courtroom.

Harry and Meghan Felt Forced to Step Back from Royal Duties

In a prepared statement, Harry’s attorney declared the couple’s deep fear of returning home. “It was with great sadness to both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020,” the attorney quoted Harry as saying, citing their ongoing safety concerns (via People).

An empty courtroom

Source: Karen Neoh/Flickr

While Harry yearns to bring his family back to the U.K., various factors leave them feeling unsafe.

Harry Refuses to Put Meghan in Danger

In his statement, Harry asserts that he refuses to endanger his wife or himself, drawing on his past experiences. Harry writes, “I can’t put my wife in danger like that, and given my experiences in life, I’m reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm’s way too.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day

Source: Royal Family

This compelling argument for royal understanding, however, fuels a long-standing U.K. debate that has eroded their popularity.

Harry and Meghan's Popularity Ratings Are at an All-Time Low

In a poll by Redfield & Wilton for Newsweek, Harry and Meghan saw a surge in their popularity in the U.S. This surge in popularity was largely helped by their Netflix show, “Harry & Meghan,” and Harry’s memoir, “Spare.”

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 at Merkur Spiel-Arena

Source: Joshua Sammer/Getty Images

However, their popularity in the U.K. is at an all-time low. YouGov discovered in a recent poll that Meghan and Harry’s popularity rating sits at 23%, largely due to recent controversy caused by the duchess’ controversial curtsy in their Netflix show.


The Late Queen Elizabeth II Wanted Harry and Meghan to Continue Having Security

In a recent letter, it was discovered that the late Queen Elizabeth also wished that Harry and Meghan would continue to have security while they moved to the U.S. in 2020, saying it was “imperative” that the couple “continue to be provided with effective security” against “extremists” (via People).

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace

Source: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The letter was written on her behalf and was provided during Harry’s ongoing lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday newspaper.


The British News Outlets Target Meghan

According to Harry, the Sussexes were falling apart due to the negative media coverage that included an intimate letter between Meghan and her estranged father (via Vogue). The Daily Mail published the letter, sparking controversy among the public.

Selective Focus Photography of Magazines

Source: brotiN biswaS/Pexels

Harry defended his wife, stating that this family did little to protect them during this scandal, believing that the royals could have stepped in and told the editors of the magazines to stop covering the subject.


Harry and Meghan Stopped Receiving Support from the Royal Family

“The journey to justice can be a slow and painful one and since bringing my claim almost five years ago defamatory stories and intimidating tactics have been deployed against me and at my family’s expense,” the courtroom statement continues.

English Royal Family

Source: Carfax2/Wikimedia Commons

The evidence presented raised questions as to whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s financial support for the royal family stopped after the couple moved to America, stepping down from their duties.


Harry and Meghan Are Still Wary of the Royal Family

Whether Harry and Meghan stepped down from their royal duties on their behalf or were forced out has been a topic of debate since their marriage. The duke stated in his recent letter that he “felt forced” to step back from his royal duties to protect his family.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive to attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King's Lynn, England

Source: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

The toxic dynamic that the couple presents the Windsors as, which they view as a divided group driven by individual agendas, has led them to feel unsafe under the watchful and deceitful eyes of the family.


Harry and Meghan Will Not Return to the U.K. for Christmas

Some outlets, such as the India Times, believe that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not return to the U.K. for the holidays since they will not have private security during their visit. However, this does not mean that the couple will never return to England.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, and Prince Harry on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, June 2013

Source: Carfax2/Wikimedia Commons

After Prince William had commented on Prince Harry’s ultimate betrayal of the royal family, Harry is seemingly trying to reconnect with his brother.


Could Harry and Meghan Reconnect with the Royal Family?

That apology might come sooner than later. Reports of polite and warm phone calls between Harry and his father, King Charles III, show signs that the couple is not completely severed from the royal family.

Street in United Kingdom with British flags

Source: Vincent Wei/Pexels

Until then, the couple continues to live in the U.S., working on several projects and pursuing a variety of business endeavors to support their lives as “commoners.”