Britain’s ex-head of counter terrorism has revealed that police investigated multiple “disgusting and very real” threats against Meghan Markle.
The outgoing Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, said the danger posed to the Duchess of Sussex would have left her feeling “under threat all of the time.”
Basu confirmed the threats came from the far right and they had led to prosecutions.
The comments throw new light on Prince Harry’s frustration over a decision not to allow him to pay for police protection for himself and his family when in the UK.
The Duke of Sussex, who quit as a senior working royal in 2020, won the right to challenge the Home Office in the High Court after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting.
The Duchess of Sussex during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Basu characterized the threats the couple faced as “disgusting and very real.”
He continued: “I’ve talked publicly for many years about the threat of extreme right-wing terrorism in this country.”
Asked if there were serious and credible threats from the far right directed at Meghan, he replied: “Absolutely. 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.”
Asked if there had been genuine threats to Meghan’s life, he replied: “Absolutely. We had teams investigating it. People have been prosecuted for those threats.”
The Sussexes personally fund a private protection team in the U.S. for their family.
Harry told Oprah Winfrey the couple have signed multimillion-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify to pay for the security.
But he and Meghan lost their taxpayer-funded police protection in the UK in the aftermath of quitting as senior working royals.
Speaking to Winfrey during the couple’s sit-down interview in 2021, Harry said he was told that “due to our change of status – we would no longer be ‘official’ members of the royal family.”
He said he had been shocked by this and “pushed back” on the issue, arguing that there had been no change of threat or risk to the couple.
Meghan, during the same interview, told how she had written to her husband’s family urging them not to “pull his security,” but had been told “it’s just not possible.”
The couple have offered to pay for police protection in the UK themselves, rather than ask taxpayers to foot the bill, his legal representative has said.
In September 2021, he filed a claim for a judicial review against the Home Office decision not to allow him to personally pay for police protection for himself and his family while in the UK.
A government spokesperson said at the time: “The UK government’s protective security system is rigorous and proportionate. It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements. To do so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals’ security.
“It would also not be appropriate to comment on the detail of any legal proceedings.”