Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are concerned for their family’s safety following multiple incidents at their Hollywood Hills home, where drones have flown as low as 20 feet above their property to snatch photographs of the couple and their young son, Archie.
A source has exclusively told The Daily Beast that the couple has been coping with “unimaginable” levels of press intrusion at their temporary new home, which is reportedly owned by their friend Tyler Perry. It is not known whether the couple is paying rent for the property or not.
The source also claimed that reports that Prince Charles is paying for Harry and Meghan’s security are untrue.
The couple has now told friends that when they do hire their own security team, they will pay for any such service out of their own money. “They are not asking for any special treatment, and have not received any,” the friend said.
At least five drone-related incidents have been reported to the LAPD’s non-emergency line. The Daily Beast has been informed that there have been drone-related incidents at their home on May 9th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 25th, which were all reported to the authorities.
The drones are believed to be operated by paparazzi photographers. However, Harry and Meghan, who have faced repeated racist abuse and trolling, are forced to also treat incoming drones as potential terrorist threats, the source said.
“They see these drones coming in at them, and they guess that they are being operated by photographers, but they can’t just assume that. Meghan received racist death threats at the time of her wedding, so the terror threat is very real for them,” the friend said.
“But, aside from that, imagine if you were in their shoes facing that, how that would feel? To have drones buzzing around 20 feet above your head when you are trying to play with your son?”“They are just asking for the safety and security we all expect in our own homes to be respected”
“It’s like people forget they are real people. But this is a real family. They are not asking for any special treatment; they are just asking for the safety and security we all expect in our own homes to be respected.”
A spokesperson for the LAPD said the May 20 incident was reported at 11:12 am, with the incident report reading: “Unknown suspects were flying a drone in the area and they were last seen on Coldwater Canyon.” A report for the Memorial Day attack said that “a drone was flying over residences” and that it is “an ongoing drone issue.”
The Sussexes have been buzzed by drones at least four times in the past week, with the most recent incident taking place on Memorial Day, when the couple were playing with Archie poolside at the house they are living at temporarily.
While there is some debate surrounding the legality of publishing pictures taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, it is unequivocally illegal to fly a UAV over people, or beyond your line of sight, unless you are a registered drone pilot.
However, commercially available drones costing as little as $1,000 can be operated from several miles away and frequently go un-registered with the FAA. Live footage is streamed back to the user’s cellphone, while GPS enables the drones to navigate with pinpoint accuracy.
Highly intrusive photographs and videos of Harry and Meghan playing with their dog by the pool, believed to have been taken by illegally flown drones, have been published by numerous gossip publications and sites in recent days.
Harry and Meghan are also becoming increasingly concerned by the antics of paparazzi in cars pursuing them to take photographs, the friend said.