King Charles is risking a deeper rift with Prince Harry with reports that he intends to personally pay for security guards to protect his disgraced brother, Prince Andrew.
The guards will replace the armed Metropolitan Police officers that are set to be withdrawn now that Andrew no longer performs public duties.
But that’s likely to go down badly with the Duke of Sussex, who fought a long-running legal battle against the Home Office’s decision to end his police protection.
READ MORE: Prince Harry shrugs off 'are you putting money before family' question from media
The private security team is expected to cost some £3million a year, which according to a report in the Daily Telegraph will be paid by His Majesty.
Harry had complained in the past that the private security team that he pays for himself doesn’t have sufficient jurisdiction abroad – in particular, access to local intelligence and operating under the legal law enforcement framework.
The Prince and his wife Meghan have both been the target of significant far-right threats in recent years.
In his recent Netflix show the Duke of Sussex claimed that some royals had questioned why Meghan needed more protection from the media than other royals.
“The direction from the Palace was don’t say anything,” he said, adding that they failed to appreciate the “race element”.
He has since filed two lawsuits over the decision not to allow him to pay for police protection when he is in the UK.
Norman Baker, former Home Office minister and Privy Council member, told the Sun: “Armed protection has always been a status symbol for the likes of Prince Andrew.
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“Of course he should pay it himself and not burden the taxpayer because he is a private individual and carries out no public duties. People like David Beckham pay for their own security so why shouldn’t Prince Andrew?"
He added: “We shouldn’t pay for Andrew’s or Harry’s security or any member of the Royal Family that carries out no public duties.”
The Duke of Sussex began a legal challenge against the Home Office in February after his taxpayer-funded security was stripped in 2020 when he stepped down as a working royal and moved abroad.
The Daily Star has approached Buckingham Palace for comment.
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