A deal reached by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, with Buckingham Palace helps clear the way for their planned part-time move to Canada, royal watchers said Saturday.
The palace announced that the duo will cease their duties as working royals this spring and will no longer use the titles “royal highness” or receive public funds for their work.
Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for and green lights their plan to lead more private lives and split their time between Canada and the United Kingdom.
“It looks like they’re moving as expeditiously as possible in a way that’s respectful of taxpayers’ money, public sentiment and the Duke and Duchess’s desires to pursue an independent life,” he said.
Roy said he doesn’t expect the deal to impact the public cost of their security during their part-time residence in Canada.
“If you as a citizen or resident of Canada were being hounded and pursued by other members of the public or the press, I think you would expect that our government would provide you security so you could live as peaceful a life as possible,” he said.
He added that he does expect some of their security will be privately funded.
But royal historian Carolyn Harris said the deal might affect how their security is paid for. She noted that Harry’s cousins, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, also hold reduced royal roles.
“Beatrice and Eugenie originally had British state-funded security and that attracted a lot of criticism in the British press when they were travelling with security officers. Now their father, the Duke of York, privately pays for their security,” Harris said.
The royal statement said Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements and there are well-established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security.
Harris said it’s unlikely the details have been hammered out because it remains to be seen how much time the pair will spend in the United Kingdom, Canada and potentially the United States.
She pointed out the statement says Frogmore Cottage will remain Harry and Meghan’s family home in the United Kingdom, suggesting the couple isn’t contemplating a full-time move to Canada.
Since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they wanted to spend more time in North America, and the Queen confirmed Canada as their destination, speculation has run rampant that they will buy a home in British Columbia. Harry and Meghan vacationed on Vancouver Island over Christmas and Meghan recently visited a women’s charity in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
But Roy said Toronto was also a possibility, noting Meghan previously worked as an actress in the city on the TV show “Suits.”
He said Harry has private wealth passed down from his mother, Diana, and when the Queen dies, her wealth will pass down to his father, Prince Charles, and Charles’ wealth will pass down to his sons. Meghan also presumably has money from her acting career, he said.
Roy, who is also a real estate agent, said if they purchased a part-time residence in Vancouver they would not have to pay the city’s empty-homes tax if the house was occupied year-round by domestic staff.
Metro Vancouver also has a 20-per-cent foreign-buyers tax, which they would have to pay if they don’t pursue residency in Canada, Roy added.
He said they might not choose to obtain citizenship or permanent residency in Canada and might instead pursue working visas on the basis of their “special talents.”
“They’re both very capable people in their respective fields,” Roy said.
“Prince Harry would be an interesting addition to any company as a special talent because of his international experience and connections. He’s a man in his early 30s who has travelled the world, met with heads of state, presidents and prime ministers. He’s been a soldier and headed up the Invictus Games.”
Laura Kane, The Canadian Press