Meghan Markle Faced 'Disgusting and Very Real' Threats in the U.K., Former Counterterrorism Head Says

Meghan Markle, the US fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry, attends an Anzac Day dawn service at Hyde Park Corner in London on April 25, 2018.
Meghan Markle, the US fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry, attends an Anzac Day dawn service at Hyde Park Corner in London on April 25, 2018.

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle's life in London wasn't exactly a fairytale.

In a new interview with Channel 4 News, the former head of counterterrorism for the Metropolitan Police said that there were genuine threats to the Duchess of Sussex's life while she lived in the U.K.

Neil Basu opened up about the alarming allegations amid his resignation as Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations for the Met Police in an interview released Tuesday. Basu, 54, is leaving the force after 30 years, during which he earned the Queen's Police Medal for distinguished service and served as the senior-most officer for the counterterrorism unit of the Met Police starting in March 2018 — two months before Meghan and Prince Harry's royal wedding.

"You were in charge of royal protection. How would you characterize the threats that Meghan and Harry received?" journalist Cathy Newman asked in a quick clip shared on Twitter.

"Well, disgusting and very real," Basu replied, calling extreme right-wing terrorism the "fast-growing threat" to the country.

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"But there were many serious, credible threats against Meghan, were there? Emanating from the far-right?" Newman chimed in.

"Absolutely, and if you'd seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it… the kind of rhetoric that's online, if you don't know what I know, you would feel under threat all of the time," he replied.

When asked if the Duchess of Sussex's life was genuinely threatened more than once, Basu had a frightening reply.

"Absolutely. We had teams investigating it. People have been prosecuted for those threats," he said.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a local farming family, the Woodleys, on October 17, 2018 in Dubbo, Australia.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a local farming family, the Woodleys, on October 17, 2018 in Dubbo, Australia.

Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty

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Basu was the senior-most officer of color in the Met Police and said elsewhere in the Channel 4 interview that he was turned down from running the National Crime Agency because of his outspoken views on diversity and inclusion, The Guardian reported.

The top officer's claims correlate with Prince Harry's previous comments that he does not feel safe with his young family in the U.K., amid ongoing lawsuits for them to receive police protection while abroad.

In July, Prince Harry won the right to challenge the status of the U.K. security arrangements put in place following his and Meghan's decision to step back from their senior royal roles. They then relocated to Meghan's home state of California.

The ruling follows a February 2020 decision by the RAVEC to remove Harry's automatic right to U.K. police security after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would be stepping back from frontline royal work in January 2020.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Summer Party at the British Ambassador's residence at Glencairn House during their visit to Ireland on July 10, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Summer Party at the British Ambassador's residence at Glencairn House during their visit to Ireland on July 10, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

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Judge Jonathan Swift granted Prince Harry, 38, "permission to apply for judicial review" over the RAVEC decision in legal papers obtained by PEOPLE.

The decision means that the legal action will now proceed to a full hearing at the High Court in London between Harry and the U.K. government — an unprecedented situation in modern times.

On July 7, the High Court heard that Harry and Meghan's security has been dealt with on a "flexible, case-by-case" basis since they made their decision to step back.

Prince Harry's legal team has previously stated that the print "does not feel safe" bringing children Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, to the U.K. under this arrangement because his U.S. security team does not have jurisdiction in the U.K. or access to U.K. government intelligence.

In August, Harry filed a second lawsuit looking at the decision that people are not allowed to privately fund their own security, an offer that the Duke of Sussex allegedly made and was refused.