Canada will pay for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s round-the-clock security while they spend a “period of transition” in the country, it has been reported.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assured the Queen that the safety of the Royal couple and their son Archie will be taken care of, in a move that could cost Canadian taxpayers millions of pounds.
Last night, the Queen released a rare statement, saying she would have preferred Harry and Meghan “to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family” but that she is “entirely supportive” of their desire to create a new life as a young family.
Her Majesty confirmed that “there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.”
The Evening Standard reported that Mr Trudeau privately assured the Queen that their security would be dealt with, even if the couple continue to have British royal protection officers from the Metropolitan police.
But that decision has caused a backlash in some parts, with Aaron Wudrick, director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation saying: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect us to pay for everything the way we do for a royal visit.
“If they’re going to make Canada a second home, a good step in the right direction would be to pay for at least part of it, and not rely on taxpayers to fund their entire lifestyle.”
In a statement released last week, Harry and Meghan said: “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”
Last night, that commitment to financial independence was reiterated by Her Majesty, who said: “Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.”
The cost of their security arrangement could easily run into the millions of dollars, according to Mike Zimet, whose New York-based executive security firm has protected clients including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and actors Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alec Baldwin.
Mr Zimet said: “If they want private protection, then a whole machine needs to be built around them.”
It is understood that the couple have already flown their dogs to Canada, and there has been speculation about Prince Harry becoming the country’s Governor General.
A recent Postmedia poll found that over 60 per cent of respondents would like to see Harry become Governor General of Canada.
This role essentially entails acting as a proxy for the Queen. The holder is responsible for such duties as holding weekly meetings with the Prime Minister, delivering an equivalent of the Queen's Speech setting out the Government's agenda, and granting royal assent to parliamentary bills.
The Queen appoints a new Governor General on the advice of the sitting Prime Minister, so it would be up to Justin Trudeau to make that recommendation.