Tag Archives: Royal Protection Officers

Oh No, Canada!

The Palace must really not want anyone paying attention to the Cambridge not-so-secret French getaway because shortly after it hit the headlines, Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate will be touring Canada in the fall, giving the press something else to write about and the public something else to focus on.

The invitation for the Cambridges to return to Canada had been publicly announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who bypassed proper palace protocol.  This is Justin  Trudeau so he gets a pass on his lapse in judgment of putting Canada through another Cambridge tour, at least in my book (Canadian readers might feel differently):

JustinTrudeauPM

It was a given the Cambridges were going to go, otherwise it would be seen as a slight to Canada with which the British monarchy wants to maintain a good relationship.  And  as Richard Palmer Tweeted on Wednesday:

RPCanadaTourConfirmation

No tinfoil hat is needed to see a correlation between the timing of the French getaway hitting media outlets and the Canada tour being officially announced by Kensington Palace.  There are several possible reasons to employ some good old-fashioned misdirection to divert attention, some of which may require Reynold’s Wrap headgear or at least wishful thinking, like maybe there’s a planned Jeggings Intervention they don’t want getting out.  A more likely reason, though, is the Palace doesn’t want the masses doing the math on this latest getaway.

Even privately funded royal holidays cost  taxpayers who foot the bill for security without ever seeing the amount.  Prince William and Harry’s trip to the US to attend Guy Pelly’s wedding cost UK taxpayers an estimated $84,000 according to an industry source cited in a Daily Mail article.

However, UK taxpayers aren’t the only ones covering security costs for private royal holidays, whenever the British royals travel, they arrange security logistics with local law enforcement.   As one comment from the aforementioned article noted:

DMAmericansPayingForRoyalSecurityComment

This screen grab from the same DM piece shows just one example of the police protection US taxpayers provided for the “privately” funded trip:

USPoliceProtectionforPellyWedding

Turns out taxation with representation isn’t all that great either.  We  don’t get to say of course we want Harry but please keep the petulant one at home.

Sadly, the Cambridges are high risk targets.  In light of the terror attacks against France and ongoing threats, local law enforcement is busy enough without the extra burden of allocating its resources to a private royal getaway.  Additionally the UK government warns on its foreign travel advisory page for France:

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Who booked this trip, Triple Whammy Travel?   Worst Case Scenario Tours?   I love France, it’s felt like a second home to me since the age of 16, I’ve spent more time there than any other country outside of the US.  But other countries are pretty cool, too.  Maybe the Cambridges could check one of those out.  According to Prince William, Kate came up with a travel wish list when they were first married, surely there are a few on there they can’t get taxpayers to fund under the guise of a royal tour.

There’s speculation about who actually went on this French getaway and either scenario reflects poorly on the Cambridges.  If Kate went alone, it undermines the argument that she can’t work more because of her children, but if the entire family went, two high risk terror target  future kings are diverting security resources away from a country under the highest terror threat level and in mourning because of  recent attacks.

Just to give a glance into the huge logistical nightmare Cambridge security is, I will once again quote a recent Herazeus comment:

Think about this…..when Kate goes home to Middleton Towers with George, all security resources in the surrounding villages are re-routed for their safety. All police have to be on high alert for the duration of her stay, ground (vehicles + mounted horse) and air patrol the area. All local hospitals and medical staff are also on high alert in case of emergency trouble.

Now imagine the level of security required in a France on high alert for William and George!!

Or to quantify it, the last time London was on high alert, Kate required 9 RPOs just to attend a wedding at the Dorchester Hotel in London which is a skip and a hop from BP/CH and their security arrangements.

In France, the British and the French will have to provide extra security so these numpties can holiday in safety, but why should they let a terror alert get in the way of their holiday plans?

I think Kate probably traveled to France without her husband and children so likely (and hopefully), the French only have one numpty to deal with.  The French paper’s “several sources” only saw Kate, but if Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Nanny Maria were really on the private plane which seats 8 as has been suggested by the British press, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for their Royal  Protection Officers.   Additionally, only two SUVs met the plane according to reports which suggests one royal.  I guess it’s possible everyone scootched, maybe Nanny Maria and the kids went in one while Prince William and Kate were in the other, they just tied the RPOs to the roof like Christmas trees because the luggage for a family of four, a nanny, and their RPOs would take up the remaining interior space but there’s an upcoming Canada tour so we don’t have to think about how they worked out the SUV logistics.  Just know that magic exists, Muggles.

It would have to be one doozy of a spell, though.  This is the convoy when Princes William and Harry were in the US for Guy Pelly’s wedding.

PellyRoyalConvoy

Thank goodness the Canada tour was announced, otherwise we might feel obligated to count the SVUs and local law enforcement vehicles in the royal convoy.

The announced Canada tour will also help with annual engagement totals for Prince William and Kate.  On Thursday, Express ran a piece by Richard Palmer about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry being ahead of last year’s numbers thus far but still behind Prince Philip.  Tours like the recent India/Bhutan one are an easy way for Prince William and Kate to get their numbers up without the terribly taxing pretending to care about stuff because travel to and from the tour host country and each destination within counts, as do the greetings.  There’s very little substance and yet each tour racks up dozens of official engagements.  So even with the benefit of one royal tour this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are still  trailing behind  Prince  Philip?  Seriously?

On Wednesday, Kensington Palace Tweeted that that the Cambridges have special memories from their first Canadian Tour.

KPCanadaSpecialMemories

I think it’s safe to say that tour holds special memories for royal watchers as well.  It was at the Calgary Airport that Kate had her first full bum flash as a duchess.  Call me sentimental, but I get a little misty-eyed just thinking about it.  Of course, that might just be burning from the image permanently  seared in my retinas.   But remember how we all thought it was a rookie mistake that wouldn’t be repeated?   We were so innocent and naive back then.  I miss that.

redheart

signature-copy

 

Potential Dangers of Private Royals

For those not following royal photographers on Twitter, it seems like there was an incident on Saturday about which royal photographer, Niraj Tanna, cryptically Tweeted:

NirajTweet

While no specific royals were mentioned, royal watchers suspected it could be a dangerous escalation of the Cambridge’s ongoing privacy war against the media. The Usual Suspects, it turns out, were on an extended weekend ski getaway with newly released photos by John Stillwell Tweeted by @Kensington Royal providing the anticipated family photos to quiet the grumbling masses.

Photographer Jesal Parshotam offered another clue about what Tanna’s Tweet was eluding to:

JesalTweet

It was pretty messed up when in August, Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, released a public appeal for sympathy which also included the veiled threat, “it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm.”  But putting the general public at risk using taxpayer-funded RPOs driving recklessly to avoid being photographed ups the crazy factor.  Allegedly back in December, Kate Middleton’s car is said to have employed the same photographer evasion tactics.  As one royal watcher noted:

simonmensahtweet

If I were ever to be mowed down by a Royal Protection Officer driving recklessly to keep any member of the royal family from getting photographed, I would haunt the crap out of both the RPO and the royal in question.  And it wouldn’t be one of those polite hauntings either where a couple times a year you think you maybe saw something out of the corner of your eye and sometimes feel a cold draft that has no discernible source, I would throw a phantasmal freak-out.  There would be no Lola, only Zuul.

The Tweet of another royal photographer suggests the incident to which Niraj Tanna eluded transpired at the wedding of William’s ex-girlfriend, Olivia Hunt, which took place this weekend.

MarkStewartTweet

Interestingly, as Sebastian Shakespeare noted in his most recent Daily Mail piece, the only member of the British Royal Family to attend the wedding was Prince Harry.  Neither Prince William or Kate Middleton went, opting instead for a private family ski getaway.  While Prince Harry is not known to possess the same level of animosity towards the press as his older brother, he once got into an altercation with Niraj Tanna outside of Boujis, as detailed in a 2010 article by Camilla Tominay so it’s possible their history has something to do with Tanna’s Tweet.  Prince Harry has grown a lot in the past few years, though, and has found a way to juggle the pressures of his role, gladly posing for photos with royal fans, even tipping off the press as to his whereabouts while accommodating photographic requests.  Harry’s conducted himself with far more grace than his brother, the future king, which makes me even more curious about the missing pieces of this story which still remain untold.

This line from Sebastian Shakespeare’s Daily Mail article does not sit well at all with me, “Security was in place for royal guests. Tourists and photographers were turned away from entering, apparently at the request of the police.”

Exactly how much taxpayer money went towards security for this private wedding at Temple Church because of its royal guest list?  Security costs for the British Royal Family are never reported with the excuse that revealing the figure would somehow jeopardize their safety.  Were RPOs used to keep photographers from documenting this taxpayer expense, endangering the very taxpayers who fund them in the process?

Hopefully Niraj Tanna will follow up with details.  Considering this is the second accusation in three months of RPOs driving aggressively to avoid having pictures taken, hopefully some better way of handling the presence of photographers will be explored that won’t endanger the masses.

I really wish Crown Princess Victoria taught seminars on how to juggle a royal role and family life, both she and her husband, Prince Daniel, manage it far better than any other royals.  In my opinion, the reason they are able to have the privacy they want is because they are dedicated to duty and accommodate interest in their family, providing enough of a public presence that they are allowed to keep the rest for themselves.   After the birth last week of Prince Oscar Carl Olaf, Prince Daniel addressed reporters warmly and requested the same kind of space with their newborn son they were granted by the press when Princess Estelle was born for which they were so thankful.  No expectation of privacy letters handed out, no threats, just an acknowledgement of how wonderfully understanding the press had been after Estelle’s birth and an appreciative request that Oscar’s birth could be handled in the same manner.

These latest photos released of the Cambridges on Twitter are lovely, but ultimately, they are glossy photos of a family to which the public feels little connection enjoying some wintry frivolity.  I also question the reasoning behind taking photos of a couple criticized for their lack of worth ethic while on a get-away from the duties they rarely undertake.  While the photos are likely intended to represent a promising future for the monarchy, they also represent an increased burden on taxpayers.  RPOs are flown Business or First Class on the taxpayer’s dime, their accommodations, overtime and per diem are also covered by the taxpayer.  That’s a pretty pricy photo op during a time of austerity.

Cambridge1 Cambridge2 Cambridge3 Cambridge4 Cambridge5

redheart

signature copy

 

Cambridges Papped on Mustique

Well, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have officially been papped on their Mustique vacation.

The New York Daily News ran two sets of photos taken on Sunday, one of Prince William frolicking in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean with some of the Middleton clan and one of Kate and the nanny taking Prince George for a stroll.  The only family member to escape the camera lens was the Middleton matriarch Carole, although that’s probably just coincidence.  There’s nothing suspicious at all about how the photographer managed not only to sneak snaps of Prince William’s group both in and out of the water, but also somehow found the second location where Kate, Prince George and Nanny Maria were walking and lingered long enough for Kate to switch places with Nanny Maria so she was further away from the lens…  Except of course for that one teeny weeny problem that for a photographer to secretly snap even one of these pictures on one of the most heavily guarded remote islands in the Caribbean would be so difficult, the photographer would probably have to either be a highly-trained genetically engineered seagull or blend in so well that his or her presence would not arouse any suspicion from the watchful eyes of both Mustique Security and the Royal Protection Officers.

One of the draws of Mustique for royals and celebs is that the paparazzi aren’t allowed on the island which is a privately owned company with lots of rules to protect the privacy of those seeking refuge from the limelight.  The Mustique Corporation employs a security team, most of which are former Scotland Yard, which patrols the island for any kind of craft that a pesky photographer might use.  Any camera equipment found on a suspected paparazzo is either destroyed or confiscated.

So how exactly did the photographer manage to evade detection?  The Prince William set of pics was obviously taken from the water from some kind of boat that could have stayed around long enough for the party to exit the water and walk across the beach, clearly not in any kind of hurry.  Maybe it was a ghost ship?  I mean, hopefully there was some kind of invisibility shield happening because this photographer also managed to find Kate Middleton strolling with her son and nanny and once again linger, if it was without benefit of a magical cloaking device, that would mean a major fail on the part of Mustique Security and two separate groups of Royal Protection Officers.  Unless of course the photos were taken by someone who all of those highly trained security experts wouldn’t think out of place…

Usually Prince William has a royal hissy fit when photos taken on his ‘private’ time are published so it’s possible there will be some kind of official statement about their being a privacy violation and asking that other media outlets not publish them.  It will be interesting to see if any objection will be forthcoming given that such a statement would be an admission of a major lapse in the security protecting his family or at best a betrayal by a member of his party.  The existence of these photos is probably more interesting than anything they captured.

redheart

signature copy

The Middletons Take Mustique

After three events on Monday for which child-scarer Kate Middleton looked like a Clueless Miss Geist, the duchess became a self-fulfilling punchline when she jetted off to Mustique on Thursday with Prince William, Prince George, her mother, father, sister and brother and several Royal Protection Officers.

Despite being ‘too pregnant’ to join Prince William on a tour of China and Japan, Kate is apparently just pregnant enough for the nine hour flight to her favorite Caribbean destination.  No Fake Hyperemesis Gravidarum to spoil the Caribbean Queen’s third trimester two week getaway with the Middletons, which is fortunate, had Kate’s pregnancy really been a difficult one and not just billed so to get out of duties, there might be concern that the future fourth-in-line to the throne was several islands away from the most basic of hospital care.

The trip is ostensibly to celebrate Middleton Matriarch Carole’s 60th birthday which apparently the Doolittles were unable to do when they spent this past weekend with Kate’s parents at Bucklebury or during the two weeks or so that the Middleton family spent at Anmer Hall around the Christmas holidays.

Surely this birthday celebration for Carole has been in the works for a while and yet Prince William still opted to forego Christmas Day with his grandmother, preferring to spend it instead with Carole and the rest of the Middleton clan in a mansion gifted to him by Her Majesty.  Apparently with the short deck Prince William seems to be playing with these days, Carole trumps the Queen.  With Carole Middleton seemingly always getting top priority, isn’t every day Carole’s birthday?

But this Mustique trip had to have an official reason to make it slightly more palpable to the press, after all, Prince William has been doing very few official engagements while supposedly training to be an air ambulance pilot, Kate just took several weeks off around Christmas from all that nothing she does, and they couldn’t call it a Babymoon because they just had one of those in November, nor could it be a second honeymoon because they just had one of those ten months ago in the Maldives… so Carole’s birthday celebration it is.

While this is a private Middleton getaway, unfortunately it still comes with a hefty price tag for taxpayers who foot the bill for security and any additional staff the couple brings, such as the nanny.  These costs include round-trip business class tickets, luxury resort lodging, per diem and overtime.  While RPO numbers are never released for “security” reasons, I estimate a dozen Royal Protection Officers were brought along to Mustique to guard the villa, The Heir-To-The-Heir, The Heir-To-The-Heir-To-The-Heir and The Hair.  Despite taxpayer financial contributions to this trip, it’s doubtful taxpayers will even get to see pictures from this latest holiday.  In the past, other guests on Mustique have complained about royal security restricting movement on the island, taking away their cell phones and even questioning them before allowing them on the beach (which makes the 2013 babymoon pics even more curious, with many believing Carole was somehow involved).  But, who knows, maybe Prince William will spring for some “Kate and Wills Blew My Tax Money on Another Holiday and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” souvenirs.  Or maybe Prince William prefers the more classic “I’m With Stupid” design. redheart

signature copy