What we know so far about Prince Harry, Meghan's move to Canada
TORONTO -- With the Queen’s blessing, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be dividing their time in the U.K. and in Canada after handing over their “royal highness” titles and stepping back from royal duties.
The decision comes after weeks 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 that 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’?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will now become “financially independent” from British tax payers. The couple has even agreed to repay the $4-million (2.4-million pounds) Sovereign Grant expenditure for the renovations of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their family home in the U.K.
Previously, Prince Harry and Meghan were barred from earning their own income because they received funding from the grant, 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 came 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.
Berthelsen said it is up for question whether the couple continues to receive money from the Duchy, noting that 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.
However, it remains unclear whether Prince Harry and Meghan will require security when they are living in Canada and who will pay for it.
Buckingham Palace said it does not comment on the details of security arrangements, noting, “There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.”
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 Jan. 14.
When contacted by CTVNews.ca, the Prime Minister’s Office said there are “still many discussions to be had” about who might cover the costs of security for the couple.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government hasn’t spent “any time thinking about this issue” during a press conference on Jan. 13.
“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 Jan. 14, 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 wished the couple well stating, “I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.”
As part of the agreement, the Duke and Duchess will step back from royal duties, including official military appointments, representing a major shift in Prince Harry’s duties.
Berthelsen says that although Prince Harry and Meghan’s initial announcement came as a shock, the Queen and her family were aware of the couple’s growing unhappiness.
“Clearly there’s been awareness in the family of a degree of unhappiness. I think the shock was the making of the announcement unilaterally and they had to work out these details,” he said during an interview with CTV News Channel.
He also suggests that the couple’s royal resignation will leave a “massive labour shortage” within the Royal Family to perform the types of duties the public is used to seeing, especially within the Commonwealth.
- With files from CTVNews.ca's Nicole Bogart