Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be vulnerable without the palace's protection in California, according to royal experts

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  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are already facing the new challenges that come with "Megxit" as they prepare to officially resign on April 1. 
  • Insider spoke to royal experts, who explained that the couple are more vulnerable now without both the security staff and press office provided by Buckingham Palace.
  • "If you're paying for your own foundation and insisting on earning money for that, you may come across a few crummy suggestions," royal author Hugo Vickers told Insider.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle settle into their new lives in California, it seems the pair are already feeling the impact of "Megxit" before it becomes official later this week.

After the US confirmed it will not pay for the couple's security costs, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said the UK will not pay either and that it will be provided privately.

However, it's more than just the couple's physical safety that you could argue is more at risk now that the palace has taken a step back.

Their office at Buckingham Palace will officially close on March 31. Judging by the palace's silence on Harry's recent mishap with a prank caller pretending to be Greta Thunberg — to whom he opened up about Trump and Prince Andrew — it seems the press office may already be distancing itself from the couple.

That inevitable silence also begs the question of how vulnerable the Sussexes will be without the palace to protect them in their pursuit of independence. 

Insider spoke to royal experts, who broke down how the couple will operate after "Megxit" is finalized on April 1. 

Harry and Meghan's new security team could be less experienced than their former royal protection officers 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex relocated from their Vancouver Island home to LA before Canada's coronavirus border closure earlier this month. 

Representatives for the couple replied to a tweet written by President Donald Trump over the weekend, in which he said the US will not provide security for the couple while they live in the country.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have no plans to ask the US government for security resources. Privately funded security arrangements have been made," a spokesperson for the couple told royal correspondent Omid Scobie over the weekend.

These arrangements are likely being funded by Prince Charles, although the couple could pay for their own security at a later date, according to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.

"It is probable that, at this stage anyway, if it is decided that the taxpayers should not fit the bill in these unprecedented circumstances, Prince Charles will," Fitzwilliams, former editor of "The International Who's Who" told Insider.

"Later, if they become self-sufficient financially as they intend to, they may well contribute part and perhaps even eventually all of the extremely high costs involved in going it alone abroad, as well as keeping their home at Frogmore in Windsor," he added.

However, there's a major difference between private security firms and royal protection officers, according to the royal family's former bodyguard.

Simon Morgan, who worked as a royal protection officer before launching his own private firm, said private firms won't have as much training.

Morgan previously told Insider that while "a royal protection officer will have up to six months training" when transitioning from the police, those in the private sector "only have to do a two-week course."

Markle and Harry in Cape Town.
Henk Kruger/AFP/Getty Images

"There's a lot that goes into creating a protection officer of that level," Morgan said.

"If done correctly, it's expensive. Protection done well is a lifestyle choice. Not many people have experience dealing with members of the royal family," he added.

On a rare occasion, intruders have been able to get past the royal family's security. One man even managed to break into the Queen's bedroom, where she slept in Buckingham Palace.

Michael Fagan scaled the palace's 14-foot high wall before entering the building through an open window in what was later described as "one of the 20th century's worst royal security breaches," according to the Express.

He then found his way to the Queen's bedroom and sat on the edge of her bed. Her Majesty, who was inside the room, was able to contact security and Fagan was ultimately arrested.

But that was nothing compared to the kidnap attempt of Princess Anne several years prior. In 1974, Ian Ball forced a car that was driving Anne and her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, to stop by driving his own car in front of it.

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.
Bettmann/ Getty Images.

Ball, who was armed with two guns, shot her protection officer and then tried to force Anne to come with him.

"He opened the door and said I had to go with him and I said I didn't think I wanted to go," Anne said of the experience during an appearance on the talk show, "Parkinson," as cited in Marie Claire.

"There was only one man," she added. "If there had been more than one it might have been a different story."

Although it's likely the palace's security teams have learned from these experiences — and adapted their training since then — it's worth recalling that these are the kind of security risks Harry and Markle could be up against.

The couple could be taken advantage of as they step into the world of showbiz

Harry and Markle will be left vulnerable in other ways that don't relate to their physical wellbeing.

In fact, Harry has already recently been taken advantage of, after telling a prank caller posing as Greta Thunberg his private thoughts on "Megxit," Donald Trump, and his relationship with his uncle, Prince Andrew. 

In one clip from the call, Harry could be heard saying that Trump has "blood on his hands."

"I don't mind saying this to you guys, the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands," he said.

It's unclear whether Buckingham Palace took legal action against the pranksters.

While Buckingham Palace is yet to release an official statement in relation to the incident, anonymous palace sources have spoken to the media about it.

Prince Harry pets a dog as he greets the crowds leaving The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ahead of the Invictus Games on September 23, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

"It perhaps highlights that there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, never publicly spoken about, to ensure things run smoothly and are hitch-free," one palace aide told The Telegraph.

They added: "As they [the Sussexes] move forward, they do need to invest in proper resources and have the right management, rather than adopting an approach more familiar in showbusiness. Perhaps this incident will highlight that. Let's hope it's a wake-up call."

According to royal expert Hugo Vickers, however, it might not be the wake-up call the palace hopes for.

"People may ask him or tell him to do things that he finds undignified, and he might say he doesn't want to do that," Vickers, author of "The Crown Dissected," told Insider.

"Then there'll be conflict, because you'll find as members of the royal family working on behalf of the Queen, you're not being paid. 

"But then if you're paying for your own foundation and insisting on earning money for that, you may come across a few crummy suggestions," he added. 

Nonetheless, Fitizwilliams believes Harry has already learned his lesson. 

"The recent prank call made Harry look ridiculous but nothing like this will obviously recur," he said.

Therefore, Harry and Markle will certainly be more vulnerable as they step out on their own without facilities and staffing provided by Buckingham Palace. 

If recent events are anything to go by, the Sussexes are well aware of this.

However, if they chose to take these recent incidents as a "wake-up call" and adapt their new staff and procedures accordingly, that will make all the difference.

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