Run-of-the-mill nannies are no longer suffice for the protective needs of the children of the international super-rich
Taken from Tatler on 02 January 2020. Article by Annabel Sampson
Parents will go to great – and expensive – lengths to protect their children. As evidenced outside the school gates of the Knightsbridge School, where lower key parents and nannies will line up alongside heavy-set men with dark glasses and earpieces to await the arrival of the precious pupil to take home.
The Times reports that London’s super-rich parents in some of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods are hiring ex-military bodyguards to nanny their children as protection against rising crime in the capital and the threat of abduction.
Former special forces servicemen are reportedly being paid up to £150,000 a year to act as close protection guards for the children of parents from Russia and the Middle East.
Magoo Giles, a former Coldstream Guard who served as the Queen’s Equerry for two years, is now the principal and founder of the £20,000-a-year Knightsbridge School. He told The Times that several families of pupils at the school paid for private security guards to drop off children in the morning, then waited outside to take them home again. Giles added that, ‘a lot of schools in this area have a similar arrangement.’
Sam Martin, a co-founder of 19 London, an international agency providing staff for the homes, offices, yachts and private aircraft of rich and high-profile individuals, confirmed that rising crime in the capital has led to a surge in demand for close protection services.
In the past five years, crime in the boroughs of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, London’s two most expensive areas, has risen significantly, by 25 per cent and 16 per cent respectively according to The Times.
Martin added that, ‘All of the bodyguards that we recruit are ex-military. However, when it comes to close protection for children, clients tend to demand more high-level staff, someone who is trained in emergency first aid and possibly from special forces like the SAS.’
Sergei Migdal, a security expert who was the chief bodyguard to Boris Berezovksy, a Russian oligarch, said that it was often those from the Soviet Union and the Middle East who hired children protection mostly as a precaution against threats that might arise from their ‘business dealings’.
He added that, ‘People wanting this sort of protection come from places where the criminal model includes kidnapping and ransom, and in the 1990s in Russia this was the way they operated’.