Very Very Important People: Harry and Meghan will be given ‘VVIP’ status in the Netherlands for the Invictus Games affording them top-level local protection – and have undergone ‘hostile environment’ training ahead of visit
- Couple will be accompanied by own private security team when attending event
- They will also be protected by in-country officials after being designated VVIPs
- Sussexes will have direct links to all law enforcement and emergency services
- Comes after it emerged they will not get audience with Dutch royal family
Harry and Meghan will be given ‘VVIP’ status when they travel to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games, affording them top level local protection, and have undergone ‘hostile environment’ training ahead of the visit.
The couple will be accompanied by their own private security team when they attend the event, due to get underway on Saturday, in what will be Meghan’s first trip to Europe since they quit as senior working royals more than two years ago.
But they will also be protected by in-country officials after being given Very Very Important Persons status, it has been confirmed.
As VVIPs, the Sussexes will have direct links to all law enforcement and emergency services, The Mirror reports.
It is understood a ‘detailed extraction process’ has been drawn up in the event of a terror attack, while the couple are also said to have undergone a ‘hostile environment’ course.
It comes after it emerged Harry and Meghan will not get an audience with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima during their stay, nor be offered a room in the royal palace in The Hague.
Traditionally, the Dutch royal family hosts stays of foreign royals, but a spokesperson confirmed no such olive branch has been extended to the Sussexes.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have VVIP status when they travel to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games, which is due to get underway on Saturday
Team UK competitors with their friends and family during a photo call for Invictus Games Team UK at Brunel University on Wednesday
King Willem-Alexander and Princess Margriet greet Dutch paralympic athletes at Noordeinde Palace as they returned from Beijing last month
The couple have been told there is no credible threat to their safety, while it is reported that responsibility for their security will be overseen by Dutch national police and the country’s Royal and Diplomatic Security Service.
The trip comes after Harry was absent from the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month amid an ongoing claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.
The duke wants to bring his children to visit the UK, but he has said the family is ‘unable to return home’ because it is too dangerous, a legal representative claimed.
But 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’, adding that the duke is ‘not an expert in security’.
Asked if the UK is an unsafe location for Harry, Mr Davies said: ‘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.’
A key difference between Invictus Games and the service of remembrance in London is that a Netflix crew will be with them in The Hague – as part of the couple’s rumoured $100million deal – but wouldn’t have been allowed to join them at Westminster Abbey.
Harry is expected to stay in the Netherland for the duration of the Invictus Games, whereas Meghan is only due to attend the first few days of the event. Their children will remain back in the US.