Prince Harry appears to have bolstered his personal security detail as he promotes his new memoir, which offers the stunning claim that he killed 25 Taliban fighters during the war in Afghanistan.
During a visit to Manhattan on Monday for an interview with The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert, Harry was escorted from his hotel by three plainclothes NYPD detectives and two private bodyguards, a witness told DailyMail.com.
One of the bodyguards, a British former policeman, was seen carrying a pistol case emblazoned with the logo of Glock, the handgun brand that is popular in both private use and as a police service weapon.
Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent with experience in presidential and dignitary protection, told DailyMail.com that enhancing the security around Harry and his family is a ‘sound decision’ given the attention from his book tour and wartime claims.
Anytime the public profile of an individual increases so does the risk. When coupled with detailed claims that could inspire or motivate retaliation, it only worsens a tense situation,’ said Wackrow in an email on Tuesday.
Prince Harry is seen on Monday leaving his Manhattan hotel and heading to record an episode of Stephen Colbert’s show, accompanied by an armed guard with a Glock lock box
At least one member of Harry’s security detail on Monday was seen wearing what looked like an NYPD detective badge. It is unclear whether he was on-duty, or moonlighting
It’s unclear whether the pistol case seen on Monday contained a gun, or why the bodyguard would use a case instead of a body-worn holster for easier access.
However, Wackrow speculated that the case may have been needed to secure the gun for a flight following the Late Show appearance. Even on private planes, firearms often must be declared and secured in a locked case.
He also said that NYPD cops working a protection detail typically do not allow private security guards to work alongside them while armed, and may have required the bodyguard to secure the weapon in the case while they protected Harry.
Harry has long relied on armed private bodyguards since moving to the US, but the appearance of the guard carrying a pistol case was an unusual sight.
As well, at least one member of the security detail at The Late Show was seen wearing what looked like an NYPD detective badge.
However, it is unclear whether the NYPD assigned a detail to protect Harry, or detectives were working as private security while off duty, which is a common practice.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Tuesday morning.
Harry is seen taking selfies with fans, as a bodyguard (right) looks on during an event in Dusseldorf, Germany in September. It’s unclear how many bodyguards were present
A heavy security detail, including a woman (second from left) wearing the badge of a United Nations security officer, is seen around Meghan and Harry as they depart the UN Building in July
Harry’s armed guard
The Glock lock box carried by Prince Harry’s guard usually contains a pistol and ammunition.
It can be configured for any type of handgun.
Unlike in the UK – where private armed security is illegal – it is common for security guards to carry firearms in the US
Harry and Meghan are believed to rely on Gavin de Becker and Associates, a private LA firm that charges up to $8,800 per day.
Harry’s seemingly bolstered personal security comes after he claimed in his new book Spare that he killed 25 enemy fighters during two tours of Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter gunner.
The book reveals that he thought of the enemy casualties as ‘chess pieces’ rather than people as a means of bearing the emotional strain of taking dozens of lives — an admission that has already drawn fury from the Taliban.
Anas Haqqani, chief of the Taliban’s infamous Haqqani network, lashed out at the prince in a tweet, writing: ‘The ones you killed were not chess pieces, they were humans; they had families who were waiting for their return.’
Although the Taliban itself is not known for carrying out attacks overseas, the potential for violent retribution over Harry’s wartime claims may have inspired his heightened security.
‘I would absolutely maintain increased physical security coupled with enhanced protective intelligence throughout the book tour,’ said Wackrow, the former Secret Service agent.
However, he noted that ‘threats take the path of least resistance’ and that it would be important to consider how long and at what level Harry and his family use additional security.
‘As long as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex maintain a high profile, whether in the US or UK, they will be subject to the high personal risk caused by threats and vulnerabilities surrounding them coupled with the unique characteristics of the royal family profile,’ said Wackrow.
The prince has become increasingly concerned for his security since moving to the United States with his wife Meghan Markle, and has frequently said he feels vulnerable.
He took legal action against British authorities after he was blocked under UK law from paying for armed police protection in the country.
In High Court papers filed in London, the Duke of Sussex said he ‘does not feel safe’ in Britain without armed security, and said the decision to prevent him being accompanied by armed guards is ‘unlawful’ and ‘unfair’.
When he stepped down as a working member of the British royal family, he lost his official taxpayer-funded security detail.
In September 2021, when Harry and Megan visited New York, one of their bodyguards (left) told DailyMail.com that he was with the Department of Homeland Security
NYPD officers armed with long guns stood watch as Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, walked while visiting the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan in September 2021
He has said that paying for private armed security is one reason he has sought to sign lucrative deals in the US – such as his memoir, for which he was reportedly paid a $20 million advance by the publisher Penguin Random House.
ET Canada reported an even more extravagant sum, claiming the deal is for four editions, with a $35 million-$40 million fee.
Although the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have often spoken out about their physical security concerns, they keep the details of their private security arrangements closely guarded.
In September 2021, when Harry and Megan visited New York during the United Nations General Assembly, one of their bodyguards told DailyMail.com that he was with the Department of Homeland Security.
The federal department encompasses a number of agencies with sworn police services, including the Secret Service, Federal Protective Service, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), but the man offered no further details on his agency.