Threats to Meghan Markle’s Life—Real Cases Behind Terror Chief’s Warning

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were the subject of “disgusting and very real” threats to their safety and “people have been prosecuted,” a former senior U.K. counter-terror police officer has said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had their police protection removed on visits to Britain, despite arguing the threat to them has not changed.

Neil Basu, former assistant commissioner for specialist operations at the Metropolitan Police, was asked about plots against the couple during an interview with Channel Four about far-right extremism in Britain.

Journalist Cathy Newman asked: “You were in charge of royal protection. How would you characterize the threats that Meghan and Harry received?”

Meghan Markle With Bodyguard and Neil Basu
This image shows Meghan Markle flanked by a police bodyguard during a visit to Auckland, New Zealand on October 30, 2018 and Neil Basu, inset, pictured in London in July 2018. Basu, a former senior U.K. counter-terror police officer said Meghan and Prince Harry had been the subject of “disgusting and very real” threats to their safety.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Basu replied that they were “disgusting and very real” and added that right-wing terrorism was the fastest growing issue during his tenure, rising from 6 percent to more than 20 percent of the workload.

Asked if there were “many, serious credible threats against Meghan,” he said: “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.”

“We had teams investigating it,” he said. “People have been prosecuted for those threats.”

Anthrax Scare After Meghan and Harry Sent Racist Letter

The couple were sent a racist letter containing a white powder in February 2018, three months before their wedding at Windsor Castle.

At the time, a Metropolitan Police statement read: “The substance was tested and confirmed as non-suspicious.

“Officers are also investigating an allegation of malicious communications which relates to the same package, and it is being treated as a racist hate crime.

“The matter is being investigated by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.”

The letter and its contents were intercepted before they reached the duke and duchess.

The biography Finding Freedom, published in 2020, addressed the incident: “The material, feared to be anthrax, turned out to be harmless. At least physically. The night of the incident, though, Meghan barely slept, later admitting to a friend that she worried the incident was her new normal.”

Teenager Jailed for Saying Harry Should Be Shot as ‘Race Traitor’

Michal Szewczuk, 19, was jailed for four years and three months after posting a photo online of Prince Harry with a gun to his head against a blood splattered background.

The image contained a swastika and was accompanied by the message: “See Ya Later Race Traitor.”

The post was exposed through an investigation by the BBC into extremist group the Sonnenkrieg Division before Szewczuk was subsequently convicted at the Old Bailey and sentenced in 2019.

Judge Rebecca Poulet told Szewczuk: “Individuals were urged to go out and commit appalling acts of violence on others for no reason that can ever be understood by any right-thinking individuals.”

Harry’s Police Protection Lawsuits

Harry has twice filed “judicial review” lawsuits against the U.K. Home Office over the decision to remove his police protection.

A legal representative in January cited the threat from the far-right among the reasons why he needed police bodyguards while in Britain.

A statement released to Newsweek at the time read: “Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life. He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats. While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family.”

Basu’s statements may bolster Harry’s campaign to get the team reinstated, though the former counter-terror officer did not specifically comment on whether he thought the duke should win his cases.

Basu was directly involved in the prosecution and prevention of attacks, while decisions on who receives protection are taken by RAVEC, a committee which includes representatives from the Home Office, Metropolitan Police and Royal Household.

Harry’s first lawsuit sought to challenge the decision to remove his police bodyguards while the second, filed in August, focuses on a decision that private individuals should not be able to pay to have police security that they would not otherwise be entitled to.

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