Joining the royal family means Meghan Markle must be ready for anything. But she'll be facing more than constant charity work, inevitable sartorial criticism and the watchful eye of the queen when she marries Prince Harry in May.
As a high-profile member of Britain's most famous clan, the American actress-turned-princess also needs to be prepared for kidnap plots and armed attacks.
According to Britain's Sunday Express, Meghan, 36, has undergone two days of intense training conducted by the SAS, Britain's Special Air Service -- an elite Army special forces unit -- in the Herefordshire, England, countryside.
Harry, 33, accompanied his bride-to-be to the training exercises, the newspaper reports.
A former SAS officer described the kidnap and rescue part of the course as something "devised to frighten the life out of anyone" and said that live ammunition would have been used. "Even though Meghan will have known the enemy was not real, I guarantee that she will have been petrified," the former officer added. "That's why live ammo is used, so she knows what real gunfire sounds like should, God forbid, she ever be in a hostile situation."
Aside from Queen Elizabeth II, the paper reports, almost all the current senior royals have gone through the same thing. Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, experienced it back in 1983.
During the Princess of Wales' training, which was also attended by her husband, Prince Charles, "a stray pellet from a flash-bang grenade landed on her head, setting her hair alight. Only a quick-thinking soldier saved her from serious injury," the Sunday Express writes.
But while Prince William's wife, Duchess Kate, had her SAS kidnap training after she married the future king in April 2011, it was decided that Meghan should have hers before her wedding, a military source told the newspaper, "because of heightened security issues at this time."
In February, it was revealed that a racist letter containing white powder had been sent to Meghan. Though it turned out to be harmless, it sparked an Anthrax scare. It's unclear if more threats have surfaced that have not been made public.
It is believed that Meghan and Harry, a former British Army officer and helicopter pilot who spent a decade serving his country, will be safeguarded on their wedding day by "an elite close protection unit of 30 SAS soldiers," the Sunday Express writes.
The newspaper also interviewed Gerald Moor, a former senior Army intelligence officer who's now the CEO of Inkerman Group, a company that offers security services such as kidnap survival courses for corporate and government clients. He said Meghan's training would be "the toughest, provided by the Army's finest; men who have done everything imaginable during service in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland."
He added that "Meghan will have found the experience physically and psychologically grueling" because "the men enact a kidnap situation, during which she will have been treated as a hostage, with the area being stormed by the SAS. She will also have been advised how to develop a relationship with her kidnappers, which is often far better than trying to escape."
"She will have been shown how to deal with situations when things go wrong, for example, if her close protection officer gets shot and she has to fend for herself," he added.
On March 10, reports the Sunday Express, a spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence declined to comment "on any matter pertaining to the SAS."
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