Protecting Queen Elizabeth’s funeral is set to cost more than $7.5 million — the most expensive single-day operation in UK history, a former royal security officer predicted.
The British Mi5 and Mi6 intelligence agencies and London’s Metropolitan Police will collaborate with the Secret Service and intelligence bureaus from around the globe to protect an unprecedented number of world leaders expected for Monday’s funeral.
“This is the biggest policing operation that United Kingdom policing has ever undertaken,” said Simon Morgan, who spent years protecting the British royal family — even eclipsing the work done to secure the Olympics.
“When you look at the other events, they were big — the Prince and Prince of Wales’ wedding in 2011 was the biggest — but in comparison to this, you cant compare it,” he said.
Police costs for the 2011 wedding were an estimated $7.2 million.
London will be blanketed with security — from marksman and observers perched on rooftops and observation points, to police dispersed among the crowd — with police and intelligence officers anticipating a “substantial threat of terrorism,” Morgan said.
Intelligence officers will mount a “very big command and control operation” as well, with Mi5 and Mi6 feeding police information.
Despite the expected 750,000 people attending the funeral — far more than Will and Kate’s wedding — London will be essentially “shut down” for the late Queen’s memorial, said Morgan, who now runs the London-based, private international security firm Trojan Consultancy.
Parts of the city are already cordoned off ahead of the funeral, and it’s likely more streets will be closed, he said, noting car attacks have become a more common form of terrorism.
British authorities are also on high alert for extremist environmental activist groups, like Extinction Rebellion, which has been staging mass protests throughout England aimed at disrupting day-to-day movement.
Morgan said preparation for the Queen’s death, Operation London Bridge, which includes funeral arrangements, is a “living plan” that’s constantly updated as security risks change.
“In my time, we would get a phone call and management would want to know if a bridges plan happened now, how many people are on duty to deal with it,” he said.
Royal protection has also been bolstered for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, who lost their right to taxpayer-funded security when they quit their royal duties and were stripped of their HRH titles.
When the exiled couple came to England earlier this month with their private security team, “there was no knowledge that the Queen was going to pass away,” he said. “Now they find themselves within a larger protection operation, with other senior members of the family who are afforded police protection, getting it almost by default.”
Harry has sued to regain taxpayer-funded UK police protection that even disgraced Prince Andrew is still afforded.
Most dignitaries who attend will be expected to travel there on shared buses, but some officials, like President Biden, will have their own arrangements.
Secret Service will be flying the President’s armored car, nicknamed “The Beast,” to give Biden his own motorcade protection. Leaders from Israel and Japan — where its former premiere was shockingly assassinated — are also believed to be getting special treatment.
British authorities are “accustomed” to making special accommodations for high-profile figures, said John Parachini, the senior international and defense researcher for the RAND Corporation. “Those people have those special accommodations because they’re unique, VIP targets.”
A former secret service agent told The Post that Secret Service and British authorities are likely in constant contact, and members of the President’s team are likely already in the UK.
“The Secret Service has their standards in place on how they move and how they protect. So they’re not going to change the way they do business, even though they’re in London,” said Stacey Porter, a former agent who know runs his own security company called Porter Global Security LLC.
Biden will be protected by armed members of his security detail, Porter added.
Parachini thinks “the risks are low, but not zero” for an attack, and sees the special accommodations as appropriate. Authorities are on alert for “extreme-rightists” especially after one killed Jo Cox, a member of parliament, in 2016. he noted.
“But there’s also a possibility of somebody who has an unusual grievance that doesn’t get tied to anything political,” Parachini added.
“This event has been has come on fairly quickly, and that means that groups or individuals who have grievances, haven’t had a lot of time to get their act together to do something,” he said.