Fans are usually told when the royal family will be making a public appearance, whether that's in the UK or abroad. But on occasion, senior royals, notably the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, surprise fans with an unannounced visit to a city or a particular charity. On Monday, Charles and Camilla kicked off their tour of Ireland, but their first engagement had not previously been revealed.
So why the secrecy? Former protection officer Simon Morgan, who heads up Trojan Consultancy, has explained why sometimes the royal family's plans are kept under embargo – and it's all to do with security. "The bad guys will plan as hard as you will plan," Simon told HELLO!. "If you can remove that element of intelligence for them, with regard to where you are going, arrival times, and so on, that adds to the level of protection you are providing.
Video: Charles and Camilla arrive in Ireland for their two-day visit
"With fixated people it starts as letters, then maybe they become attendees at various different events. They will have planned that all the way through, they will have known when certain royals are arriving and obviously the movements of the royal family are published on their website, so it does allow a degree of planning from the bad guys' perspective. With regards to a protection officer, you have to get it right every day. With regards to the bad guy, they only have to get it right once."
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The royals regularly take part in walkabouts when they visit a new place and happily shake hands and stop to talk to well-wishers. Kate has previously revealed how she is teased by the royal family, admitting: "There's a real art to walkabouts, everybody teases me in the family that I spend far too long chatting. I still have to learn a little bit more, and to pick up a few more tips, I suppose."
Sometimes royal engagements are kept under embargo for security reasons
For a personal protection officer, walkabouts are a big part of the job. "You are always aware of who is in the crowd," said Simon. "That is one of the positives of our royal family, they always want to go and meet people and as a protection officer, you have to accept what their wishes are. The current trend of hugs, high fives and selfies, that's going to continue, so the protection officer's job is really brought to the front then, because the protection officer is constantly looking for what could go wrong, you are constantly working things through your mind for the 'what if, what if, what if.'"
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Simon admitted that he never had any particularly hairy moments during his time with the royals, but that "there are always challenges". "You see people in the crowd that don't fit the event. For example, is it a happy and smiley event and are they looking miserable? It makes you think what's that person's agenda, why are they here? So you would monitor that person a lot more than other people."
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