The Police Royalty Protection Branch are said to be “deeply concerned” that “dating” apps like Grindr and Tinder are putting the security of the Royal Family at risk. Staff at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace are believed to be using the apps to find casual sexual partners who they then invite back to their quarters inside the palaces.
Over 800 staff are given apartments in Royal Palaces in exchange for a small percentage of their salary. These include everyone from senior advisers to gardeners. They are allowed to sign in guests, but are expected to have some knowledge of who they are.
But Royal Police, known as SO14, have complained the numbers of overnight visitors at the Palaces is increasing, as is the number of staff admitting they met their visitors on one of the apps. There are fears many of these guests have never met their hosts and the staff concerned would have little way of verifying their background.
A source told the Daily Mail that the sheer number of unchecked overnight guests being brought back by staff represents a “security nightmare”. The source said: “There are real and serious security concerns at Buckingham Palace about members of staff use of dating apps such as Tinder, which can be rather sleazy.”
They added: “The palace police are particularly unhappy about the number of guests of servants staying overnight, especially when they may have only just met on Tinder. It is a security nightmare, especially in the current climate.”
The fear amongst security chiefs is that anyone could set up a profile on one of these sites and gain access to one of the Palaces as a result. Both apps operate on GPS systems and postal codes, putting potential partners together who are based close to each other.
If there is a large number of staff looking for sex close to one of the Palaces it could prove easy for anyone threatening the buildings to meet them. This could pose a security risk to both the buildings and the Royal Family themselves.
In the past there have been some breaches of security that have led to public concern about how the Royal family are protected. In 2003 the comedian Aaron Barschak attended and spoke at Prince William’s 21st birthday in Windsor Castle dressed as Osama Bin Laden. At the time security staff thought Mr Barschak’s attendance had been organised by Prince Harry as a prank.
In 1982 Michael Fagan made it as far as HM the Queen’s bedroom as she slept. He woke her up and the two had a brief discussion that was only broken up when the Queen phoned staff asking for a packet of cigarettes. As the Queen is a non-smoker the request was considered so bizarre that staff recognised it as a request for help and sent in armed police.
Insiders have said the right of staff to bring back guests without vetting is the “Achilles heel” of security at the palaces. Both palaces are extremely large and can therefore be difficult to secure: Buckingham Palace has fifteen times the floor space of the White House and a 42 acre garden.