Canada will not provide security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex once they step down as senior royals next month, the Canadian federal government has confirmed.
The Royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP) have been providing protection on an intermittent basis since Harry and Meghan moved to a rented mansion on Vancouver Island in November.
Following the couple’s decision to step back from royal duties and become financially independent of the UK taxpayer, there has been intense speculation over who would pay for the huge cost of guarding the couple and their son, Archie.
The couple will officially end their royal duties on 31 March and have said they intend to split their time between the UK and North America.
In a statement to CBC news, the federal government said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to relocate to Canada on a part-time basis presented our government with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances.
“The RCMP has been engaged with officials in the UK from the very beginning regarding security considerations.
“As the duke and duchess are currently recognised as internationally protected persons, Canada has an obligation to provide security assistance on an as-needed basis. At the request of the Metropolitan police, the RCMP has been providing assistance to the Met since the arrival of the duke and duchess to Canada intermittently since November 2019.
“The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”
For Harry and Meghan, Canadian media’s respect for privacy is good news
The broadcaster commented that by cutting off the famous couple “in the coming weeks”, the government of Justin Trudeau had avoided taking on a deeply unpopular financial burden. Polls have found that only about one in five Canadians believed it was an appropriate use of tax money.
Under the arrangement agreed with the Queen, the couple will no longer carry out official duties on her behalf. They will retain but not use their HRH titles, and have been forced to drop plans to use the brand “Sussex Royal”. The arrangement will be reviewed in 12 months.
In a statement released on their website, the couple reiterated that they “will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son”. They cite Harry’s public profile “by virtue of being born into the royal family”, his military service and Meghan’s own “independent profile” as reasons. They said no other details could be shared as this was “classified information for safety reasons”.