‘Stalker’ arrested outside Harry and Meghan’s Montecito home

A man suspected of stalking Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was arrested outside the couple’s home in Santa Barbara County, California, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Kevin Garcia Valdovinos, 29, was allegedly seen “lurking” outside the mansion in Montecito at around 2am, according to TMZ, and was booked on misdemeanor stalking charges after police attended the scene.

It is not known whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, or their children Prince Archie, four, or Princess Lilibet, one, were at home at the time of the incident.

However, the couple were in New York City on Tuesday evening to attend a Ms Foundation gala, where Ms Markle received the 2023 Women of Vision Award for her advocacy work on behalf of women, thanking Gloria Steinem, who presented her with the accolade, for providing “inspiration”.

TMZ reported that Valdovinos was released on $2,500 bail.

Just hours after reports of the alleged stalker emerged, a spokesperson said the couple had been involved in a “near-catastrophic” car chase involving paparazzi in New York. Meghan’s mother was also in the car.

Harry and Meghan have lived at the Chateau of Riven Rock, on a private road, since mid-June 2020, when they acquired the 18,000 square foot home, resting on 5.4 acres, for $14.7 million.

Chat show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres are among their celebrity neighbours.

The couple previously suffered an intruder on the property back in December 2020, when a man, named by TMZ as Nikolas Brooks, 37, was caught tresspassing on Christmas Eve and handed a warning.

He later returned to the property on Boxing Day and was arrested for tresspassing.

The latest incident comes as a lawyer for Prince Harry argued in a London court on Tuesday that he should be allowed to challenge a government decision that denied him the right to pay for police protection when he visits the UK.

Harry’s lawyer asked a judge to allow the duke to bring a legal case against the Home Office and the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures for denying him the right to personally pay for his security.

According to four security experts interviewed by Forbes after Meghan and Harry’s UK-taxpayer-provided security protection was revoked, the couple are paying out around $2-3 million per year for round-the-clock security.