Royal Wedding has '£30m' ring of steel security operation as snipers descend on Windsor ahead of big day

Wedding planning service Bridebook estimate the big event could cost £32m, with the bill for security ranging from between £24m to £30m.

It is expected to be the largest ever police operation held by the Thames Valley Police.

The bill is said to be especially high due to the heightened threat levels in the UK, following a number of attacks over the last 18 months.

The cost of security is being paid by the taxpayer.

Security at Windsor for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will involve armed police, undercover officers and security barriers as well as army personnel.

What we know so far…

  • Meghan Markle confirmed her dad would not be at her wedding as he continues to recover from major heart surgery
  • Thomas Markle had earlier said he wouldn’t be attending for fear of embarrassing Meghan over staged paparazzi photos
  • The 73-year-old suffered a heart scare last week which he has reportedly blamed on an open letter by his son Tom Jr – who has since said he’s “mortified”
  • Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister, slammed claims Kensington Palace is supporting their dad in hospital before she was injured in a car crash on Wednesday
  • Mr Markle backed Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland to give her away in his absence but she is said to not be on speaking terms with her ex-husband
  • Doriamet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a Royal Wedding rehearsal and is expected to sit down for afternoon tea with the Queen today
  • The bride’s best friend Jessica Mulroney jetted into London Heathrow with her kids
  • Kensington Palace announced Prince George and Princess Charlotte would be among the bridesmaids and page boys at the wedding
  • Elton John will reportedly perform at Meghan and Harry’s wedding

Armed officers are believed to have been given orders to “do whatever is necessary” if there is an attempt to disrupt the wedding, including shoot to kill.

Security specialists will have planned for any possible disruption from protesters to a full-on terrorist attack.

Plans include a perimeter around the castle grounds in a "ring of steel" as well as regular patrols of armed police and sniffer dogs.

Officers have started using an automatic license plate recognition system to flag any known suspicious vehicles.

Inspector Andy Amor, who has been co-ordinating the patrols, said: "Our officers have been out and about in the town, on patrol, talking to members of the public and engaging with them.

"These patrols are very much business as usual for us, however, they are all part of our security measures to ensure that everyone coming to Windsor for the royal wedding on Saturday has a safe and happy day.

"Thames Valley Police is experienced at policing large scale events such as these and we want all residents, businesses and visitors to the town to know that we are here, and to approach us if they have any questions at all.

"I’m really pleased and proud to be involved in policing this event.

"Windsor is a fantastic town in which to live and work, and our officers are very much looking forward to Saturday and focused on making sure that the event is secure and enjoyable for everyone involved."

Security expert Will Geddes told the Daily Star: "Operations will have been planned for months.

"Police will have mapped the area, established risk profiles, and worked out the modus operandi of high-risk groups".

He added: "Police will be looking for a variety of threats."

Will added: "The world will be watching — nothing can afford to go wrong."

"Overt police operations will be a visible presence on the streets, with senior security forces acting as a deterrent.

"Covert operations will include plainclothes police, special forces, the SAS, and the military."

Geddes said authorities will "do whatever is necessary" to neutralise the threat.

"Specialist firearms officers will be in place," he said.

"There can be no messing around on the day.

"Any threat will be met with force."

As many as 100,000 visitors are expected to flock to the Berkshire town – which has a population of 35,000 – to see Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle on Saturday.

The wedding will be one of the most heavily guarded events in history, with police snipers perched on roof-tops, special-forces troops mingling with crowds and road blocks in place.

A no-fly zone will also be in force during the service.

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