Harry and Meghan’s ‘VVIP’ security operation: Royals are being protected at Invictus Games by private guards including ex-Obama secret service agent and Dutch King’s taxpayer-funded elite armed officers
- Since arriving at the Invictus Games the couple always travel in a three-car convoy with plenty of security
- A former US presidential secret service agent has been assigned to lead close protection for the couple
- Also shadowed by a team from the Dutch Royal police thanks to their status as ‘very, very important people’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are being protected in a joint operation involving private security guards and members of the Dutch royal protection squad during the Invictus Games.
A former US presidential secret service agent has been assigned to lead close protection for the couple and it has been left to armed protection officers who usually guard the King of the Netherlands to provide security outside of the venue.
Since arriving at the Invictus Games the couple always travel in a three-car convoy with burly Christopher Sanchez, a former bodyguard to President Obama, sitting in the front seat.
A second Land Rover with two other private security guards follows Harry and Meghan’s vehicle while an unmarked Audi car containing two members of the Dutch Royal protection squad trails behind.
An officer from the Dutch royal police shadowing Harry and Meghan during their visit to the Invictus Games yesterday
The Duchess of Sussex being shadowed by Christopher Sanchez, a former bodyguard to President Obama
Meghan getting into a Land Rover Defender at the Invictus Games with Sanchez – a former Secret Service agent – following behind
Visitors to the Zuiderpark where the Invictus Games are being staged saw the three-car convoy sweep into the venue with Sanchez one of the first to jump from the car and stand protectively by Meghan’s side.
He was also with her during a book reading to a group of children and sat in a golf buggy that left with Meghan and two of her aides.
Security guards from a company Dutch based First Line Security provide extra back up in the crowd.
They were spotted standing among the fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Meghan during the book reading and stood close by while she posed for selfies.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arriving at the athletics track at Zuiderpark, the Netherlands, on Sunday, April 17
All the guards wore earpieces to keep in contact with each other but did not carry firearms.
During Meghan and Harry’s visit the officers from the Dutch Royal Protection squad remained with the cars.
One officer confirmed to MailOnline he was part of the team usually assigned to provide protection for the King of Holland.
He was armed and a small cannister of pepper spray was visible on a utility belt.
Having been given VVIP status Harry would not have to pay for the Dutch royal police to provide protection.
But he will be footing the bill for the ever-present private security firms with one expert in the field saying the cost would be six figures.
Meghan is understood to be returning to America today and likely travel with a bodyguard. Harry does not have any public appearances at the events scheduled but is due to return on Tuesday to meet competitors at two events.
The duke is at the heart of an extraordinary legal wrangle over his security when coming to Britain.
He mounted a legal challenge against the Home Office having been told he would no longer be given the ‘same degree’ of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite claiming he had offered to pay for it himself.
For the visit to Holland Harry and his wife were given VVIP (very, very important person status that allowed Dutch royal protection officers to be assigned to them.
A source said the police officers are responsible for security outside the Zuiderpark venue where all the events for the injured and disabled servicemen are taking place.
Inside the park private security led by former Secret Service agent Sanchez keep watch over the couple.
Dutch Royal Protection sit in their car. Having been given VVIP status Harry would not have to pay for the Dutch royal police to provide protection
Harry has played a key role in the Invictus Games since its inception. Pictured: The Prince accompanied by staff and bodyguards at the event
A former secret service agent and police officer from Texas, Sanchez has been chosen to act as close personal security because of his experience at big sporting events.
He is a vice president of the Torchstone Global, a private security firm for millionaires and companies.
Prior to joining the company Sanchez was responsible for helping organise security at many major US sporting events, including NFL games and golf tournaments.
His experience of protecting former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush would have been a major attraction to Harry and Meghan.
Sanchez was primarily based in Texas with the Secret Service where he was assigned to protect George W Bush who had a home in the town of Midland,
His CV on his Linkedin page lists his duties as carrying out advance security missions ahead of visits by the President and the First Lady.
It says he conducted ‘conducted lead advances and evaluating security concerns through strategic intelligence both foreign and domestic.’
The Sussexes are at the centre of a complex security operation made up of a mixture of private security and Dutch police
Sanchez spent five years as part of the US Secret Service, spending two-and-a-half years each with Barack Obama and George W Bush
Harry walking through the Invictus Games park shadowed by security and a camera crew from Netflix
Before joining the secret service, he was a police officer based in Houston, Texas.
He has been with Torchstone for three years and he says he offers high profile clients such as Harry and Meghan ‘peace of mind and confidence in an increasingly unstable and unpredictable world.’
Describing his expertise he says he is ‘skilled in Crisis Management, Computer Forensics, Fraud Investigations, Criminal Law, and Internal Investigations.
His CV on LinkedIn reads: Mr. Sanchez is a Vice President with TorchStone Global, a premiere risk advisory firm formed to serve the unique needs of the world’s leading organizations and individuals. The company focuses its efforts on preventive measures in Personal Protection, Cyber Security, Fraud Prevention, and Intelligence Gathering.
‘TorchStone Global delivers customized security solutions for clients who seek to protect their most important assets: People, Capital, and Information.’
Harry and Meghan’s annual bill for security has been put at close to £7m.
As he has been stripped of all his royal patronages he does not qualify for protection from the US secret service who would normally be assigned by the State Department.
The Sussexes embrace a member of the Great Britain team as they attend day two of the Invictus Games
Sanchez can be seen standing in the background keeping a keen eye on proceedings as Meghan and Harry speak with Games-goers
Christopher Sanchez, pictured hand on the car, to the left of the picture behind President Obama during an Irish visit
Source: Read Full Article