Prince Harry more at risk at Invictus Games than he would have been at Philip memorial says security expert

Harry will attend the sporting event founded for disabled military veterans in the Hague later this month

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Prince Harry will be putting himself at more risk by attending the Invictus Games in Holland than he would have been exposed to at his grandfather’s Prince Philip’s memorial service, a security expert has claimed.

Harry and the Princess of Wales’ former protection officer, Ken Wharfe said he was baffled at the Duke of Sussex’s decision to remain in America, stating: “It's not like he would have been turning up at Westminster Abbey on a bike'.

Harry was the only senior member of the Royal Family not in attendance at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service last week.

A spokesman confirmed his decision to remain in California last month in a statement that said there were concerns over his safety after his level of security in the UK was reduced.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Team UK as the Duke of Sussex speaks to them at their final training camp at Brunel University, Uxbridge, before the team departs for the Invictus Games The Hague
Team UK as the Duke of Sussex speaks to them at their final training camp at Brunel University, Uxbridge, before the team departs for the Invictus Games The Hague

Mr Wharfe said: 'I'm baffled about why Harry thinks he would be safer in the Netherlands than in the UK.

“He would have travelled to his grandfather's memorial service with his brother or father and received protection from the Met. It's not like he would have been turning up at Westminster Abbey on a bike'.

He added: "The Dutch police will be doing their own security assessments and liaising with Harry's private security. But my view it is more of a risk to go to Holland to support a charity with a military link than coming to London last week."

The Duke founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

After being delayed by the pandemic, the next staging of the international competition will take place in The Hague from April 16 to 22.

Speaking on GB News Breakfast with Eamonn and Isabel, biographer Angela Levin said she believes there's a second reason aside from safety fears that the Duke didn’t make the journey for the Thanksgiving Service.

Ms Levin added: “I think that there’s another reason. He doesn’t want to come here without a Netflix gang of photographers and people there.

“He needs to make another documentary because they’ve got lots of money and they haven’t really done anything.

The Queen at the memorial service for her husband the Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen at the memorial service for her husband the Duke of Edinburgh

"I think that’s what it is, he wants to have that as an excuse.

"He can go around everywhere and do all these things, but you can’t have your royal cake and eat it I'm afraid."

Harry and Meghan signed a reported £112million deal with Netflix in September 2020 to create documentaries.

A similar contract of £18million was signed with Spotify to produce podcasts for the platform in December 2020.

Only one trailer and a 30-minute podcast episode have been released so far.

Ms Levin also argued that Harry's concerns over safety weren't a valid reason to not attend his grandfather's memorial.

Ms Levin said: “There were hundreds of people. People who were involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s charities, you saw three heirs to the throne, royals from Europe and beyond and yet he felt he wouldn’t be safe.

“It’s absolute nonsense isn’t it? You only had to come from the airport just to where his grandmother was. It’s a disgrace.

“He knows very well that he can't have all the details of MI5 and MI6 anymore because he stepped back from being a working royal."

Among those attending were the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte were also present in honour of their great-grandfather – the first time they have attended a major public church service.

The Queen, 95, had been determined to make the appearance at the deeply personal occasion on Tuesday in honour of her “strength and stay” Philip, with her attendance only confirmed the same morning.