The Duchess of Sussex and her husband Prince Harry face “sickening and very real” threats from right-wing extremists, a former counter-terrorism police chief has said.
Speaking to Channel 4 News on Tuesday, Neil Basu said the threats against Meghan were so serious and credible that a team had been appointed to investigate.
“If you see what’s written on it, and you’re taking it … you feel threatened all the time,” said Basu, who was in charge of royal protection while at the Metropolitan Police.
“People are being prosecuted for these threats,” said the former Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner.
Meghan has been heavily criticized by the British media since news of her romance with Prince Harry broke in 2016. In particular, British tabloids have faced allegations that their negative coverage of Meghan fueled racist attacks on her.
During her first pregnancy, racist bullying on social media became so intense that royal staff were on high alert, beefing up their own digital presence to filter out hateful comments, including the use of the n-word and guns and Knife emoji.
The couple said the racism Meghan faced was a major factor in their move to the US and their retirement as senior members of the royal family.
During the couple’s blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Prince Harry said he didn’t think the royal family was doing enough to publicly combat persistent racism in the media.
Harry is currently in a legal battle with the Home Office over home security arrangements while they visit the UK.
Basu said the threats against the royal couple came at a time of rising right-wing extremism in the UK.
Basu said in an interview that far-right terrorism was the fastest-growing threat facing the country during his tenure, rising from 6 percent of the counterterrorism unit’s workload in 2015 to more than 20 percent when he left office a year ago .
Basu, who is of mixed race, said he believed the Home Office needed to do more to address systemic racism.
“For a long time, I was the only non-white face in the chief officer,” he said. “I don’t think the Home Office cares at all about that.”
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman wants the country’s police force to have “zero tolerance for racism in the workplace,” the Home Office said in a statement to CNN.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are actively promoting cultural change in policing, including through targeted scrutiny of police dismissals to ensure officers who are unfit to serve are quickly removed.”