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Warning over terror threat for Queen's funeral: 'Substantial'

A former Royal Protection Officer has aired his security concerns as thousands of people wait for their chance to say their final goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II.

Simon Morgan has warned there is a huge risk to the public in the lead-up to the Monarch's funeral on Monday, which will be held at Westminster Abbey in London.

"As a police service, you actually take a duty of care now to these people, and have to make sure they're secure and safe," he told Today on Thursday.

"So you've got a scenario where you've got lots of people, lots of people no going through the night. They have to be policed and they have to be policed all the way."

 Casket of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Buckingham Palace in London, United Kingdom on September 13, 2022.
Thousands of people have gathered around the UK as Queen Elizabeth's casket travelled the country. Source: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It's not just average crime that is presenting a concern — it's also terrorism, which Mr Morgan says is a "major worry".

So the policing plan ahead of the state funeral is not just targeting petty crime like people stealing mobile phones and bags, but officers are also bracing for potential terror attacks.

Officers from all over the UK flock to London

Today host Ally Langdon told Mr Morgan she hasn't felt unsafe at any point while working in London and walking home late at night.

"I feel like there are police officers or security on every corner," she said.

The former Royal Protection Officer said this is what is referred to as "mutual aid".

Former Royal Protection Officer Simon Morgan says there are several threats associated with the Queen's funeral. Source: Today Show
Former Royal Protection Officer Simon Morgan says there are several threats associated with the Queen's funeral. Source: Today Show

He said additional forces from all over the UK have been called in to support London's Metropolitan Police Service over the coming days.

The funeral will be a very "respectful affair", Mr Morgan believes.

"It'll be extremely well policed and delivered," he said.

"And I personally think protection officers will actually be front and centre of the day because they play such an intricate part in the operation."

While this might be the largest event authorities in the UK are dealing with — they have handled major events in the past, such as royal weddings and the Olympics.

'Myriad of threats'

Leaders from around the world will be heading to London for the funeral — including Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

US President Joe Biden will also be attending as Langdon pointed out during the interview. He could be more of a target than King Charles III, she said.

"You've mentioned terrorism, but I guess you've got other things, too," she said.

 King Charles III's Guards move the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II  from Horse Guards Parade to Westminster Hall, September 14, 2022, in London, United Kingdom.
A cannon carriage has carried the body of Queen Elizabeth II in procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where it will remain for a four-day public viewing. Source: Getty Images

"You've got people who might want to be making a political point of view who might want to come out and protest what happens in that regard?"

Officer Morgan said there is a "myriad of threats".

"We look at the top and international terrorism threat to the UK is currently substantial, meaning an attack is likely," he said.

He touched on the prospect of the events in the past few days potentially triggering something in people's minds. Others may want to make a statement to something unrelated to the royal family.

Karl's burning question answered

During the brief interview, Today host Karl Stefanovic made light of the situation by asking Mr Morgan a bizarre question.

"I wonder if you can answer one question of a personal nature. How many ways were you thinking of killing me while I was talking during that interview?" he said

The former protection officer simply said he would do it "quickly" because it was close to midnight and he was tired.

His response momentarily left Langdon speechless, although she later added she would "drag it out".

Karl Stefanovic asking a Former Royal Protection Officer how he would be killed. Source: Today Show
Karl Stefanovic couldn't resist asking a Former Royal Protection Officer how he would be killed. Source: Today Show

Langdon joked Stefanovic should not go anywhere dark after they wrap up work.

She then complimented Mr Morgan, saying he was "very handsome" and that they were "very good friends", potentially to spare Stefanovic. Mr Morgan said he had been told he had a face for radio.

Stefanovic then suggested the two were flirting.

"Disgusting," he joked while grimacing.

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