Though reports suggested that Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, would ring in the New Year with her mother in Los Angeles, the couple were instead spotted on an early scheduled British Airways flight on route to Nice on the morning of New Year’s Eve. The couple boarded the flight ahead of the rest of the passengers and settled into economy seats at the back of the plane.
The couple were accompanied by three bodyguards who sources say looked ‘edgy and nervous’ and the group took up the last three rows of the plane on both sides of the aisle. Prince Harry took the window seat wearing jeans, a jacket and a baseball cap pulled low over his face and Ms Markle sat next to him, similarly ‘dressed down’ on a black beanie hat and minimal make-up.
When the royal group disembarked on arrival in Nice they were met by two ‘heavily armed’ French border police officers and escorted through the VIP area of the airport. Sources suggest that several members of the elite French police unit responsible for the protection of foreign dignitaries – the Service de la Protection – had been brought in to guard the couple during their stay in France.
Insiders say that this protection would not have been requested by Kensington palace and that it’s likely “it would have been offered and would have been non-negotiable. After what happened to his mother in this country and the issue of terrorism, it would be insisted on even for a private trip such as this.”
Prince Harry and Ms Markle are believed to be spending several days in the Riviera region where they are staying at a private residence. No doubt the time away will be a welcome rest ahead of what promises to be a busy year for the couple, with their royal wedding in May and expectation that they will announce that a baby is on the way before 2018 is through.