EXCLUSIVE: It is ‘strange’ Prince Harry talks of safety risks in the UK but is still willing to go to one of the world’s most dangerous countries, a former head of royal security says.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in South Africa

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are planning a trip to Nigeria (Image: Getty)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s hypocrisy over their security fears surrounding Britain when the couple are planning to visit Nigeria has been laid bare by a former head of royal security. Dai Davies, who was once responsible for protecting the Royal Family, said it was strange the Duke of Sussex constantly raises the risks of coming to the UK, but plans to visit one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

Harry and his wife Meghan will visit the African country in May for talks over the Invictus Games. A statement from Nigerian defence spokesman Brigadier General Tukur Gusau didn’t say exactly when the Duke of Sussex will arrive in Africa. But Harry is expected to make the trip after a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to mark the 10th anniversary of the games.

Mr Davies, speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, said: “It’s strange that he personifies the risk factors here and is willing to go to one of the world’s most dangerous countries. I would want to know the rationale for this visit to what is a very dangerous place.”

He pointed to the Global Peace Index’s measure of safety, security, conflict and militarisation around the world, which places Nigeria 144th out of 163 countries.

Prince Harry Attends High Court Hearing In Privacy Lawsuit

Prince Harry has argued in court that he needs protection for himself and his family in Britain (Image: Getty)

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It comes as Prince Harry has been fighting for police protection in the UK. In April his court battle received a setback when a judge rejected his request to appeal an earlier ruling upholding a Government panel’s decision to limit his access to publicly funded security. That came after Harry gave up his status as a working member of the Royal Family.

The long-running legal battle began more than four years ago when Harry challenged the decision, arguing he and his family still need an armed security detail because of hostility directed towards him and Meghan on social media as well as relentless hounding by the media.

The High Court rejected Harry’s initial bid for permission to appeal but he can still seek permission directly from the Court of Appeal. Harry has argued in court that he does not want to put his wife in danger or himself in harm’s way, arguing it would not be possible to keep their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, safe in the UK.

Asked how a visit to Nigeria would impact Harry’s wish for improved security in the UK, Mr Davies said: “I’m sure if a risk from various sources and intelligence becomes apparent then he’ll get it. When he visited his father here there was close liaison between the Met and Harry’s security.”

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Harry and Meghan in Vancouver

Nigeria could host Prince Harry’s Invictus Games (Image: Getty)

The Duke flew into Britain when it emerged King Charles had been diagnosed with cancer following treatment for an enlarged prostate. The King is still dealing with his cancer scare but returned to public facing royal duties on Tuesday (April 30).

Mr Davies identified several risks in Harry and Meghan’s trip to Nigeria, including a terror attack, kidnap attempt or lone actor targeting the couple. Transportation plans in the African country as well as health considerations would also have to be considered by those planning security for the trip.

The former Divisional Commander in the Metropolitan Police said if this were a royal visit, he would insist on thorough background checks on who had invited them, why and where they might go. He added: “I would be highlighting the risk of terrorism, of kidnapping, the levels of violence and danger in the country.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to certain parts of Nigeria. The Centre for Democracy and Development think tank, based in the capital, Abuja, has reported 30,000 bandits in the country’s north-west alone.

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria has a population of more than 230 million, with just over half Muslim and 46 percent Christian, according to the House of Commons Library.

Mr Davies warned that Harry’s claim to have killed 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan increased the risks. He said: “It gives me concerns because of what Harry said in his book.”

On the advisability of going to Nigeria, the security expert said: “I think there’s a naivety in him and those who advise him. There’s that sense of privilege – ‘If I want to go somewhere, why shouldn’t I?’.

“I would be very careful, look at all the circumstances of this visit and ensure it’s as safe as possible.”

Few details of the visit to Nigeria have been made public so far, but it is understood to include cultural activities. Gusau said in his statement that the visit will “consolidate Nigeria’s stronghold at the games and the possibility of hosting the event in later years”.

Mr Davies claimed Harry and Meghan’s love of the limelight could present challenges for their security detail. He said: “One key thing when protecting someone is keeping a low profile. [Harry] does the contrary. [Meghan] doesn’t keep a low profile.”

He also raised the prospect of Harry and Meghan’s principles offending hard-liners in Nigeria. He said: “You have to be aware of the niceties of where you’re going. They are California liberals of the highest order.”

It has yet to emerge who will provide security for the Sussexes’ trip, but Mr Davies suggested it could be a combination of Harry and Meghan’s own private arrangements along with Nigerian state services. The expert estimated the cost could run into the hundreds of thousands, adding: “Don’t expect the British taxpayer to cough up.”