'No updates': PM still can't say who will pay to keep Harry, Meghan safe in Canada
TORONTO -- Now that Prince Harry has returned to Canada to begin his new "financially independent" life with Meghan and baby Archie, Prime Minister Trudeau still has no answer to the question: who will pay to keep them safe in the country?
A day after the Duke of Sussex touched down in Victoria, B.C. to reunite with Meghan and baby Archie, the prime minister was asked about the family’s security arrangement.
“I have not spoken to her Majesty directly, discussions continue to be ongoing and I have no updates at this moment,” he told reporters during a press conference in Winnipeg.
On Monday evening, the Duke of Sussex landed at Vancouver International Airport shortly after 7 p.m. local time following a whirlwind trip to the U.K. where he finalized his family’s plans to step back from their royal duties. He then caught a connecting WestJet flight to Victoria International Airport on Vancouver Island.
The prince could be seen smiling, sporting a blue toque and carrying a duffel bag over his shoulder as he exited the small WestJet plane and got into an SUV that was waiting on the tarmac.
Meghan and Archie have been reportedly staying at a secluded beachfront mansion on Vancouver Island while Prince Harry was in the U.K. for two weeks.
During his time in England, the prince attended several meetings with the Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family to come to an agreement about his family’s future.
On Saturday, Buckingham Palace announced the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use their HRH (his/her royal highness titles) or receive public funds for royal duties. The palace also said Prince Harry and Meghan would repay the £2.4 million (C$4.1 million) of taxpayers’ money that was used to renovate Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle grounds, where they intend to live when they’re in the U.K.
The statement followed days of uncertainty regarding the couple’s standing in the monarchy after they unexpectedly announced they would be “stepping back” from their official obligations in order to chart a “progressive new role” in both North America and the U.K.
Prince Harry said he didn’t make the decision to step back from his duties “lightly” and that it was with “great sadness” that he would no longer be a working member of the Royal Family during a speech at a charity event in London on Sunday.
On Monday, the prince attended the U.K.-Africa Investment Summit in London before taking a brief meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Duke of Sussex then boarded a flight to Canada at Heathrow Airport, skipping out on his brother Prince William’s first solo reception at Buckingham Palace.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Sussex was spotted on Monday walking through a park with her two dogs, and Archie strapped in a baby carrier, as two security officers strolled a few paces behind her.
On Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Canada did not provide the security guards seen with Prince Harry and Meghan during their stay in the country so far.
“I can tell you, right now, we are not engaged in providing those security services,” he told reporters in Winnipeg.
Blair also said Canadian officials will have to reassess the couple’s security needs as their status as internationally protected persons is currently in flux.
“So there’s an assessment done by our officials who have a responsibility to maintain safety for people who may be vulnerable within our society,” he explained. “So that work is ongoing, but that has not yet been resolved.”
While the Duke and Duchess have cited intrusions from the British media as a primary reason for their move to Canada, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam said he’s not so sure they will find the relief they’re looking for across the pond.
“They are so famous that their entire lives they’re going to have press intrusion. Indeed, it’s obsessive,” he told CTV’s Your morning on Tuesday. “The press are fascinated with their every move and particularly now. What will they do? How will they in fact become financially self-sufficient, which is what they want to do.”