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Prince Harry is set to pay for a personal bodyguard for his girlfriend Meghan Markle, it was revealed today.

The glamorous American actress has become the centre of attention on both sides of the Atlantic since the prince announced their relationship earlier this month. Harry is now considering paying for round-the-clock security for the 35-year-old, possibly using a retired member of Scotland Yard's royal protection squad, it was reported this afternoon. A source told The Evening Standard's Robert Jobson: 'His Royal Highness has made it clear that he believes Miss Markle's personal safety is paramount.' But, the source added; 'It comes down to a matter of cost, who is paying for what.'

Prince Charles is understood to have made a similar arrangement with one of his former bodyguard's to protect the Duchess of Cornwall when she was still Camilla Parker Bowles. ,Meghan is said to think Harry's idea is 'charming', but unnecessary. It is understood the cost of such protection would be around £50,000 a year.

However, one security company contacted by MailOnline quoted a figure of £306,600 for round-the-clock security for a year. This was based on a team of two bodyguards working together in 12 hour shifts.  UK Personal Protection Ltd, which supplied the estimate, provides security for celebrities, MPs and members of the royal families of a number of countries.

Its staff are fully licensed and have served in the British Army. In a strongly worded statement last week, Harry accused the media of intrusion and lashed out at the 'sexism and racism of social media trolls'.  His message, via his communications secretary Jason Knauf, was that their relationship 'is not a game – it is her life and his'. The statement added that Harry was 'worried about Miss Markle's safety' and 'deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'

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