What we know so far about Prince Harry, Meghan's move to Canada
With the Queen’s blessing, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be dividing their time in the U.K. and in Canada during a “period of transition” as they take a step back from their official duties as senior members of the Royal Family.
The decision comes after a week of rampant speculation about a rift in the family following Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell announcement that indicated they would reduce their royal workload and become “financially independent.”
As the royals begin to navigate these uncharted waters, here’s what we know so far about Prince Harry and Meghan’s future in Canada.
Where will they live?
While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they planned to balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America in their initial statement, the Queen confirmed what many suspected when she announced on Monday the couple would split their time between Canada and the U.K.
Rumours swirled that Prince Harry and Meghan had their sights set on Canada after they ditched the Queen’s annual Christmas festivities at Sandringham House and spent six weeks in north Saanich, B.C., instead.
What’s more, the Duchess of Sussex is said to be particularly fond of Canada after she lived in Toronto for seven years while filming the popular TV series “Suits.” Another draw for Toronto may be the fact that Jessica Mulroney, a close friend of Meghan’s whose three children were in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ wedding party, also lives there.
Jeffrey Dvorkin, the director of the journalism program at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, said Prince Harry and Meghan might also be drawn to Canada for its “deferential” media culture. He told The Canadian Press the royals have been “burned” by the British tabloids in the past, particularly the Duchess of Sussex, who has been subjected to racist coverage. He said Canadian journalists tend to be less intrusive than those in the U.K.
It’s still unclear if the couple will choose Toronto, B.C., or somewhere else entirely for their Canadian sojourn.
While Canada is part of the Commonwealth that recognizes the Queen as head of state, that doesn’t mean that her grandson, Prince Harry, has citizenship in the country.
CTV’s royal commentator Richard Berthelsen explained that Prince Harry only has British citizenship and his wife Meghan has reportedly retained her American citizenship. It’s unclear if she has been granted British citizenship or if she is in the process of attaining it. Berthelsen said it’s also not known if she became a landed immigrant or obtained a work permit during her time in Toronto.
If the couple plans to become legal residents in Canada, Citizenship and Immigration spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon said they would have to apply through the normal immigration process like everyone else.
How will they become ‘financially independent’?
If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intend to become “financially independent” from British taxpayers, as they announced in their shocking statement last week, they will have a number of obstacles to sort out with the Royal Family first.
Under the current arrangement, Prince Harry and Meghan are barred from earning their own income because they receive funding from the Sovereign Grant. The Sovereign Grant is an annual sum of money given to the Queen by the British government to cover the costs of running her household. In exchange, the Queen surrenders the millions in revenue generated each year from a collection of royal properties.
According to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, five per cent of their costs are from the Sovereign Grant while the remaining funds come from the Duchy of Cornwall, an estate run by Prince Charles, which is used to fund his family and charitable endeavours. The couple said they plan to give up the money from the Sovereign Grant, while continuing to receive funds from the Duchy of Cornwall.
Berthelsen said that plan could be rife with problems as the funding from Prince Charles’ estate is “fundamentally” public money.
As for what they will do to earn their own money, Berthelsen suggested they might monetize their brand “Sussex Royal,” which they have already trademarked for a “charitable entity” that has yet to be launched.
He also speculated that Prince Harry might take on work involving aircraft, as he has experience with helicopters. Meghan might work in the fashion industry – she already guest edited an issue of Vogue – because of her many contacts in the business.
Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter told CTV News Channel the couple might make hefty sums if they were to engage in public speaking events.
Who will pay for their security?
Now that it’s become clear that Canada is to be their residence of choice, at least on a part-time basis, the question of who will provide their security has become top of mind for some Canadian taxpayers.
Currently, the security costs for the Royal Family, which can be in the millions per year, are covered by the British taxpayers during official visits; however, the RCMP has provided security during royal tours in Canada in the past.
With their plan to step back as members of the Royal Family and become financially independent from the British taxpayers, it’s unclear if Prince Harry and Meghan will still require security when they are living in Canada and who will pay for it if the U.K. doesn’t.
Larry Busch, a former RCMP officer and security expert, said he thinks the bill for providing security for the couple in Canada will be negotiated between the Canadian federal government, the British government, the Royal Family, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex themselves.
The level of security they will need, however, will be dependent on where they choose to live, he said. There is a big difference between a residence in a rural environment and one in a major city, Busch explained.
“Depending on how often they expose themselves that will have a lot to do with how that drives security,” he told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
When contacted by CTVNews.ca on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office said there are “still many discussions to be had” about who might cover the costs of security for the royal couple.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government hasn’t spent “any time thinking about this issue” during a press conference on Monday.
“We obviously are always looking to make sure that as a member of the Commonwealth, that we play a role. We have not had any discussions on that subject at this time,” he said.
CTV News reached out to the RCMP for comment on the matter.
In a press release on Tuesday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation announced the launch of an online petition opposing the continuation of taxpayer support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Canada.
“Everyone wishes Meghan and Harry all the best in becoming financially independent, but we need to be clear about one thing: Canadian taxpayers shouldn’t have to cover their bills,” CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick said.
What does this mean for the Royal Family?
In her statement, the Queen said these are “complex matters” for her family to resolve and there is still “more work to be done” in regards to Prince Harry and Meghan’s future in the monarchy.
Berthelsen said Prince Harry’s position as sixth in line to the throne, his military appointments, and his role as a counsellor of state may all come into question if he steps away from his official duties. He said a change in the Duke of Sussex’s position in the family could lead to constitutional amendments involving the British government.
Additionally, when the couple moves to Canada, Berthelsen said that might complicate the country’s current system with the Governor General and Lieutenant Governor representing the Queen and performing her functions.
“How is it going to work if there's actually a member of the Royal Family in our midst?” he asked.
Berthelsen said it remains to be seen how the Duke and Duchess would interact with the Queen’s representatives in Canada and how much of a role they would play in official engagements in the country.
For their part, Prince Harry and Meghan suggested they wouldn’t discard their royal titles and would instead carve out a “progressive new role” within the institution.