Canceled Bus Tour Of Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Home Is Important Lesson In Privacy

When Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex stepped back from royal duties in early 2020, they originally said they'd be splitting their time between the UK and North America. However, they've ended up living full-time in Montecito, California with Meghan's work in Hollywood potentially inspiring the Sussexes to move closer to Los Angeles. For now, though, they seem to be staying put, and we got to see a bit of Harry and Meghan's Montecito mansion in the Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan."

Karl Larsen, a celebrity photographer and purported friend of Meghan's estranged father Thomas Markle, reportedly wanted to give people an even closer look at Prince Harry and Meghan's Montecito life by offering a bus tour called "Royal Celebrity Tour of Los Angeles and Montecito." The tour would cost over $1,000 for a group of six, and it would allegedly include visiting the couple's house, some of their favorite shops and restaurants, the Santa Barbara polo club where Harry has played and where the couple were seen kissing, and some places from Meghan's childhood in Los Angeles, per Mirror. Nearly as soon as the news of the planned tour was made public, it got an incredible amount of backlash with people outraged over this invasion of Harry and Meghan's privacy that could have dangerous consequences.

The tour could open up Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and their kids to danger

The tour, which would have taken guests through the neighborhood of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, was advertised on Tripening, an online travel agency. But after the backlash, Tripening confirmed via Twitter that the tour had been removed from their site. has also taken down the tour. 

Tripening was called out in a tweet from Christopher Bouzy (among others) who called the tour, "stalking and targeted harassment." Bouzy is the tech entrepreneur and software engineer who, in Episode 5 of "Harry & Meghan," talked about how his company helped uncover targeted Twitter attacks against the couple, particularly against Meghan. With that firsthand knowledge of the online hate the Sussexes have had to face, Bouzy explained to Newsweek that the tour was an example of "a concerning escalation of online harassment transitioning to the real world. [The tour] jeopardized the safety of the Duke and Duchess' family."

The former head of the London Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism department confirmed in an interview with Channel 4 News that the couple faced "disgusting and very real" threats online. And it's unlikely that those threats have gone away, so a tour going through their neighborhood and by their house could attract some dangerous characters.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been trying to defend their privacy

Karl Larsen, the celebrity photographer who had planned the tour, said that Thomas Markle, Meghan Markle's estranged father, approved of the project. Thomas has fired back a denial, telling the Daily Mail Royals that while he had previously worked with Larsen, he is completely against Larsen's tour idea. Larsen, for his part, told Newsweek he still wanted to go ahead with the tour, and he equated it to fans of Elvis Presley going to Graceland. Larsen denied he would be going past Harry and Meghan's house, but confirmed he wanted to go to Montecito spots the Sussexes like to visit.

Defending the privacy and safety of where they live is one struggle Harry and Meghan have dealt with before. One of the episodes of "Harry & Meghan" showed the fear the royal couple had for their safety and that of their children when the location of their house in Canada was discovered and they didn't have any security.

And in their bombshell 2021 conversation with Oprah Winfrey on Oprah Daily, Meghan spoke about the privacy she hoped for, with an analogy: "There's no one who's on Instagram [...] that would say, 'Because I shared this one picture, that entitles you to have my entire camera roll. Go ahead and look through it.' No one would want that. So, it's about boundaries. And it's about respect." Taking tourists on a bus tour through their neighborhood definitely doesn't sound like boundaries and respect.