The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be a day of national celebration, but one that will require a major security operation to ensure that the happy couple, their guests and the crowds and crowds of well-wishers are kept safe. According to new estimates, security costs for the 19th May festivities at Windsor Castle could even top £24 million, the estimated cost of policing for William and Kate’s 2011 ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
‘Thousands of people will be working on keeping the family and their fans safe. This is a time to be extremely prudent and sensible. Every precaution needs to be taken,’ Dai Davies, a former Head of Royal Protection and Chief Superintendent of the Met Police, told E! News.
The security detail for William and Kate’s wedding reportedly included rooftop snipers, undercover police placed in the crowd, months of counter-terrorism investigations and a search for explosives. According to E!’s report, though, Harry and Meghan’s nuptials could present a higher risk due to Harry’s military service in Afghanistan and the recent racially-charged anthrax scare which sought to target Meghan.
‘Windsor is a much harder area to secure than London, which is so much better prepared. In Windsor, there are shops, buildings, houses, you name it and there is a history of people trying to get into Windsor Castle,’ Davies added.
Clearly 99 percent of the population are deliriously happy [about the wedding] but you could get a small right wing fascist group who may object to it, so that adds to your problem. I don’t know how they are going to secure [the area] to the level that I would want, but […] I’m sure they’ll come up with a plan.
The Met Police confirmed that ‘an appropriate policing plan will be put into place’ on the day, though obviously they were not forthcoming with details.
Harry and Meghan recently announced that they have invited 2,640 members of the public to join in the festivities at Windsor Castle. After the ceremony at St George’s Chapel, the couple will travel by coach through the streets of Windsor.
NOW READ: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship Timeline
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
They were introduced by mutual friend Markus Anderson, who is the director of Soho House.
In October 2016, the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend.
On November 8th 2016, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement which referring to Markle as Harry's girlfriend for the first time.
In the statement, Prince Harry condemned the 'wave of abuse and harrassment' faced by Markle, saying that he was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'
'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,' the statement continued.
The couple were papped together for the first time in December 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree in London at the Pines and Needles store.
Later that week, they were seen on London's West End, catching a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In February, Prince Harry wore a his 'n' hers bracelet on the cover of Town & Country magazine, just weeks after Markle was pictured wearing the same one on Instagram.
In March 2017, Meghan joined Prince Harry in the Caribbean for the wedding of his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young.
It was the first time that Markle accompanied Harry to a wedding, marking another milestone occasion for the couple.
The first public event attended by the couple was the polo at Coworth Park in May 2017.
Later in May, Markle attended the party portion of Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Middelton.
Prince Harry was seen driving her to the event after the church ceremony.
The couple made their first official public appearance in September, when Markle attended the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games.
Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands Aritzia.
She teamed it with a matching burgundy biker jacket by Mackage.
Although Prince Harry was sat next to First Lady Melania Trump at the event, rather than his girlfriend, she was only seated a few rows behind him.
The couple were photographed together the following day at the wheelchair tennis.
Much was made of Markle's choice of outfit: ripped jeans and a white blouse called 'The Husband'.
The couple 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and appearing affectionate while at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry reportedly spent time with Meghan's mother Doria while at the Games too.
The couple indulged in some PDA at the closing ceremony.
Prince Harry was photographed kissing Meghan.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan referred to Harry as her boyfriend numerous times, saying: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'
In late September 2017, it was reported that Meghan had met the Queen, prompting speculation that the relationship was getting serious.
In early November 2017, it was reported that Meghan Markle was leaving Suits after seven series.
In mid-November 2017, bookies suspending betting on an impending royal engagement, as speculation grew that an announcement was about to be made.
On November 27th 2017, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating.
The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label. The website has subsequently crashed.
The engagement ring, by Cleave and Company, was reportedly designed by Prince Harry himself, using two stones that belonged to Princess Diana.
When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!'