Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are concerned for their family’s safety following multiple incidents at their Hollywood Hills home, where drones have flown as low as 20 feet above their property to snatch photographs of the couple and their young son, Archie.
A source has exclusively told The Daily Beast that the couple has been coping with “unimaginable” levels of press intrusion at their temporary new home, which is reportedly owned by their friend Tyler Perry. It is not known whether the couple is paying rent for the property or not.
The source also claimed that reports that Prince Charles is paying for Harry and Meghan’s security are untrue.
The couple has now told friends that when they do hire their own security team, they will pay for any such service out of their own money. “They are not asking for any special treatment, and have not received any,” the friend said.
At least five drone-related incidents have been reported to the LAPD’s non-emergency line. The Daily Beast has been informed that there have been drone-related incidents at their home on May 9th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 25th, which were all reported to the authorities.
The drones are believed to be operated by paparazzi photographers. However, Harry and Meghan, who have faced repeated racist abuse and trolling, are forced to also treat incoming drones as potential terrorist threats, the source said.
“They see these drones coming in at them, and they guess that they are being operated by photographers, but they can’t just assume that. Meghan received racist death threats at the time of her wedding, so the terror threat is very real for them,” the friend said.
“But, aside from that, imagine if you were in their shoes facing that, how that would feel? To have drones buzzing around 20 feet above your head when you are trying to play with your son?”
“It’s like people forget they are real people. But this is a real family. They are not asking for any special treatment; they are just asking for the safety and security we all expect in our own homes to be respected.”
A spokesperson for the LAPD said the May 20 incident was reported at 11:12 am, with the incident report reading: “Unknown suspects were flying a drone in the area and they were last seen on Coldwater Canyon.” A report for the Memorial Day attack said that “a drone was flying over residences” and that it is “an ongoing drone issue.”
The Sussexes have been buzzed by drones at least four times in the past week, with the most recent incident taking place on Memorial Day, when the couple were playing with Archie poolside at the house they are living at temporarily.
While there is some debate surrounding the legality of publishing pictures taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, it is unequivocally illegal to fly a UAV over people, or beyond your line of sight, unless you are a registered drone pilot.
However, commercially available drones costing as little as $1,000 can be operated from several miles away and frequently go un-registered with the FAA. Live footage is streamed back to the user’s cellphone, while GPS enables the drones to navigate with pinpoint accuracy.
Highly intrusive photographs and videos of Harry and Meghan playing with their dog by the pool, believed to have been taken by illegally flown drones, have been published by numerous gossip publications and sites in recent days.
Harry and Meghan are also becoming increasingly concerned by the antics of paparazzi in cars pursuing them to take photographs, the friend said.
“They were out driving in the last month in Los Angeles and were noticed by paparazzi,” the friend said. “They were then tailed, followed and chased by two cars, which were being driven very erratically. When they parked up, one of the cars following them, which had been in an outer lane, cut across two lanes of traffic to park themselves. The photographer’s car was five meters away from causing a T-bone crash. It was incredibly dangerous, shocking and scary. They were rattled, but they handled it the best way they could.”
“But the reality is people are following and tailing them every day. They are trying not to let the aggressiveness get to them. Protecting their family is their top concern.”
The friend said baby Archie was not with them at the time as they were delivering food for the Project Angel charity.
The claim that the couple is being habitually chased by cars will inevitably recall the fate of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash as her driver attempted to outrun paparazzi in a Paris underpass. Prince Harry said last year that he is reminded of his mother’s death whenever he sees camera flashes.
However, being besieged by drones when they try to play with their son outside around the pool of their luxury Hollywood home, which is not being named by The Daily Beast, is causing them more concern on a daily basis.
The friend said that Meghan and Harry felt violated by a media “hunt” to find out and publicize where they were living, and by “wild speculation” in the media about their security arrangements.
The friend said that fresh reports that Prince Charles was paying for their security were untrue, saying: “Charles is not paying for security costs.”
It is understood that the couple has yet to hire a permanent security team and is currently being protected by the private team already in place at the house they are residing at.
The issue of funding their security blew up in March after Donald Trump said U.S. taxpayers would not contribute to protecting the Sussexes. Harry and Meghan’s spokespeople said at the time that “privately funded security arrangements have been made.”
The couple is also believed to be upset by suggestions that they have “invited” press intrusion into their lives by moving to L.A. However, many unsympathetic critics have argued that life in L.A. was bound to be characterized by such activity.
Even Lindsay Lohan is among those to have questioned the likelihood of the couple being able to live a peaceful life in Southern California.
Lohan, interviewed on Sirius XM’s Andy Cohen Live in March, let out a laugh when the host said the royal couple had moved to Malibu to seek out a more peaceful life, and said it was hard to picture, “Unless they own another, a different private beach. You can’t go to those beaches without being [photographed]—you can’t even surf out far enough. It’s just really hard to do anything publicly there.”
However, Meghan and Harry’s friend hit back at such charges and said: “It’s absurd to say they are inviting this because they are in California. When they were in a totally remote location in Canada, they still had swarms of paparazzi photographers descending on them from all over the globe.”
“No one would expect that in rural Canada, but it happened, just as it has now happened in L.A. They have absolutely not tried to bring any attention onto themselves.”
The friend said there had been a “hunt” to “pinpoint the family’s location,” and obtain details on their security arrangements.
“It’s relevant to all of us,” the friend said. “We expect to be safe and secure at home, especially when we are doing something like playing with our kids.”