Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will travel to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games this weekend. It has been confirmed the couple will be protected by in-country officials
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been given “VVIP status” by Dutch police and assured there is “no credible threat” to their safety, ahead of their visit to the Netherlands this weekend for the Invictus Games.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will travel with a private security team who have liaised with and confirmed that the couple will be protected by in-country officials.
The couple’s trip comes just weeks after Harry stayed away from the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month.
He is currently locked in a bitter legal battle with the British government after his taxpayer-funded Met Police armed guards were removed when he quit royal duties.
In High Court papers the duke says he “does not feel safe” in Britain without armed security and says the decision is “unlawful” and “unfair”.
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The Mirror exclusively revealed last week that Meghan would make her first trip outside the United States for two years to accompany Harry to Saturday’s opening ceremony, while they will be followed by a documentary crew from streaming giant Netflix along the way.
Security sources have confirmed to The Mirror that the Duke and Duchess’s private security team have liaised with Dutch authorities and secured a “high level multi-agency protection programme” for the couple for the duration of their trip.
It includes direct links to all law enforcement and emergency services, as well as “detailed exraction processes” in the event of a “personal or larger scale terror attack”.
Harry and Meghan are also understood to have undergone a “hostile environment” training course run by their private security team aimed at protecting them.
Sources have confirmed reports that the Dutch national police’s DKDB Royal and Diplomatic Security Service will have overall responsibility for the Sussexes.
Meghan will only stay for a “few days” while Harry will stay for the duration of the Games, but it is not known whether he will visit his family in the UK as part of his trip overseas.
Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, said the idea that Harry is unable to come to the UK due to safety concerns is “sheer unadulterated nonsense”.
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, are understood to have armed protection when they are in the United States, but their private team are not permitted to carry arms in Britain or in Holland.
One source close to the Sussex camp said: “Harry and Meghan have received absolute top assurances that there is no credible threat to their safety.
“This is the view of the Dutch authorities and other agencies across the continent.
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“In any case, as they are attending a high profile event in the Netherlands both the Duke and Duchess have been classed as VVIPs for the duration of their stay and overall responsibility for their safety at all times while in the Netherlands will be with the Dutch authorities.”
The INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in the Netherlands, described as “fundamental to maintaining national and regional security” is also based on The Hague where Harry and Meghan will visit at the weekend for launch of the Games, Harry’s global sporting phenomenon for injured service personnel.
Dutch authorities have already told the couple their security team cannot be armed if they travel to Holland, but have given “high level assurances their protection is a priority”.
The couple’s trip is the first time they have traveled to Europe together since quitting the royal family.
Meghan has not traveled outside of the United States since the couple moved there in 2020, first setting up a temporary home at film producer Tyler Perry’s mansion in California before buying their own £11million mansion in Montecito.
Asked if he would say the UK is a potentially unsafe place for Harry, Mr Davies added: “No I wouldn’t. He would get the same risk assessment as every other royal.
“Most of them now don’t get full-time protection or even half-time protection, so the truth is the UK is far safer than most other places.
“And with great respect, Harry is not an expert in security “This country (Britain) has determined he is no longer at risk.
“That may or may not be true, but people far better qualified than I am now can make that decision and they never make it lightly.”