Canadian taxpayers should not contribute towards security costs for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, one of the country’s MPs has said.
Harry and Meghan are on Vancouver Island preparing to forge a new life for themselves and their eight-month-old son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, after stepping back from royal duties.
It is unclear who will foot the bill for the family’s security arrangements when they officially leave the monarchy in the spring.
A former Home Office minister warned the British public could face an ‘enormous bill’ while it has also been speculated a ‘cost-sharing’ deal between the UK and Canada could be agreed.
However, such an arrangement would be opposed by Laurel Collins, who is the MP for Victoria, where Harry and Meghan are staying.
She said: ‘Yes, I hope that they’re planning on covering their security costs. When it comes to the money our government spends and taxpayer money it’s important that we put this into context and think about our priorities.
Meghan Markle, Archie and the Sussexes two dogs were followed by two police bodyguards today – one from Scotland Yard in Britain and the other from Canada’s famous armed ‘Mountie’ unit
‘That we’re prioritising making life more affordable for people, that we’re prioritising protecting our environment and that we’re spending our tax dollars on the things that really matter to Canadians.’
Ms Collins added she wanted to focus on young families in the area, who ‘might be struggling with the housing crisis or struggling with affordability’.
She added: ‘I want to make sure we are thinking about our priorities.’
Security for the royal family as a whole costs the taxpayer in excess of an estimated £100 million a year, but the actual figure is never disclosed.
Harry and Meghan will earn their own money when they step back fully from royal life.
They had initially hoped for a dual role, supporting the Queen, the Commonwealth and Harry’s military associations. However, the idea was deemed unworkable.
Harry leaves his plane at Victoria International Airport after taking a commercial flight from Vancouver flanked by two bodyguards
The Prince of Wales will offer some private financial support to Harry and Meghan but it is not known if this will come from his £21 million a year Duchy of Cornwall income or other private funds.
Harry joined Meghan and Archie in Canada on Monday night as they prepare to live a more private life.
There appeared to be a subdued response to the new arrivals, with one local business owner saying the people of Vancouver Island are a lot more laid back than their British counterparts.
Vancouver Island, an area known for its outstanding natural beauty, is off Canada’s west coast and is part of the province of British Columbia.
On Tuesday the Sussexes issued a legal warning to the media after various outlets published paparazzi shots of Meghan walking her dogs with Archie.
The images of the duchess emerged on Monday morning and showed her walking her two pets with her son in a baby sling in a park in Vancouver.
But the pictures were reportedly taken by photographers hiding in bushes with long-lens cameras.
After the images surfaced, the couple’s legal team at Schillings sent a legal notice to the UK press, TV and photo agencies warning against using them.
British police bodyguards are guarding Meghan, Harry and Archie in Vancouver – but have been partnered with ‘Mounties’ as the row over who will pay the multi-million pound annual bill rumbles on, MailOnline revealed yeserday.
A smiling Meghan was pictured walking through a forest with Archie and her two dogs yesterday trailed by one of her regular British security men, who was accompanied by a Canadian counterpart.
The Duke of Sussex, who landed in the country on Monday, has travelled across the Atlantic by at least two Met close protection officers earning more than £100,000-a-year, not including overtime or expenses.
Scotland Yard has said they ‘never comment on personal protection matters’ – while The Royal Canadian Mounted Police haven’t commented either as experts claimed the cost of protecting the Sussexes abroad could be between £3million and £6million.
A security source told MailOnline today: ‘Meghan is being guarded by her long-term British police bodyguard who has been paired with a Canadian Mountie. Harry flew in with Met officers last night. This is likely to be the arrangement for the Sussexes going forward until the deal over who pays is thrashed out’.
There is fury in both Britain and Canada that taxpayers could be forced to pay for the Sussexes’ bodyguards despite – with a ‘cost-sharing’ deal between the two countries being predicted.
An insider has said that the Sussexes probably have a team of six police protecting them 24/7 at their Vancouver mansion – three from the UK and three from Canada.
The source said: ‘While British royal protection officers can carry arms in Canada they will be working closely with their Canadian colleagues to ensure the best possible security.’
Mounties were stationed outside Meghan’s house in Toronto when she began dating the Duke in 2016 – and already protect Canada’s Governor General, the Queen’s representative in the country.
Experts have said The Royal Canadian Mounted Police would be obliged to do the same for her grandson, his wife and great-grandson, even if the family keeps British royal protection officers with them.
Despite the Megxit deal being hammered out at the Sandringham summit hosted by the Queen this month, there are still a number of unanswered questions about who will fund the couple once they settle abroad – and how they will make money.
There is a row brewing because the British taxpayer could pick up the couple’s estimated £3million security bill because an American private firm would be ‘woefully ill-equipped’ to protect the high profile couple.
Dai Davies, who led the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection unit, said: ‘Ultimately I think the British public will still be paying for it.
‘The private security firms simply cannot cope with the professional demands that protecting Harry and Meghan would put on them.
‘By moving abroad they are making it harder to set up adequate protection.’
Meghan Markle took son Archie and her dogs Oz and Guy for a walk in the woods in Vancouver yesterday as her husband Harry flew in from the UK
Hours later Harry landed on a BA flight to Vancouver Int (left). Harry flew on to Victoria airport on a smaller plane and smiled as he arrived having been away from his wife and son for almost two weeks
Currently the Sussexes’ bodyguards cost around £1million-a-year – but experts claim this could reach £3million if they spend most of their time in Canada. Some Canadians claim it could be £6million.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had intimated that his country would pick up some of the expense – but a poll of 1,154 Canadian adults found last week that 73 per cent do not want their government to pay for the couple’s security costs.
Canada covers royal security costs on official visits when Scotland Yard close protection teams also travel.
Under the Canadian criminal code, an internationally protected person (IPP) who requires state-funded security is defined as ‘a head of state’ or member of their family.
Meghan and Harry are expected to lose that IPP status under Canadian law now they are no longer full-time royals.
But former Mountie officer, Larry Busch, who has also protected the royals, has predicted Canada would still have to agree to a ‘cost-sharing’ agreement with the UK even though the couple have lost their HRH.
Who pays for Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle, where does their cash come from and how much could they make in North America?
The government department covers Harry, Meghan and Archie’s 24/7 Met police security – estimated at £600,000-a-year. With overtime, travel and accommodation expenses this would likely reach £1million.
However experts have said that this could reach £3million to £6million – with British taxpayers expected to pick up some or all of the bill despite the couple living in Canada.
The details have not yet been agreed but sources expect the Home Office to pick up some or all of the bill when their royal duties end in the spring.
Harry receives up to £2.3million annually from his father’s royal estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
It is understood that Charles will continue to fund his son for the first year at least, either via the Duchy of Cornwall, the estate which provides him with private funding, or more likely from his own personal investments from income such as his bequest from the late Queen Mother. No public funds will be used.
Harry inherited around £20million from his mother, Princess Diana, who died when he was 12.
The Queen Mother also left him up to £7million.
Much of his cash is tied up in trust funds with some of the money kept from him until his 40th birthday
Meghan has a personal fortune of £4million, mainly from her acting work and property in Canada.
Mr Busch, who runs his own firm, Strategic Security, estimated that the couple would need a protection team of 24 RCMP officers at an annual cost of £1.2million. ‘We don’t want any of the royals injured or embarrassed while they are here so it behoves us to apply the proper level of security.
‘Hollywood people get security provided by private companies. Politicians will get security provided by police officers and that would be the case here.’
Scotland Yard has already had to nearly double its flight budget to cover the escalating cost of protecting the globe-trotting royals on official visits and holidays.
Taxpayers faced a £4.6million bill for officers’ flights in the year to March 31, 2019, almost double the £2.5million in 2016.
The police already struggle to train enough specialist officers to cope with increasing royal security demands.
Despite the Home Office recommending a 20 per cent rise in Scotland Yard bodyguards in 2017, the force said it had found it ‘extremely difficult’ to obtain the necessary training courses, adding that maintaining security has meant a ‘reliance on overtime’.
Asked about who would pay for their protection, Britain’s justice minister Robert Buckland said there was an issue about how public money was spent.
‘Quite clearly there have already been arrangements made about how that family are going to live and how they are going to be able to get private income but there clearly has to be a line of delineation,’ he told Sky News.
‘I think we all want a family like that to be safe, but at the same time I think what really needs to happen is they need to understand how their lifestyle is to adapt and what their needs might be.’
Meanwhile, 5,000 miles away, Harry’s brother Prince William chaired a meeting of an African wildlife charity he set up.
The Duke of Cambridge hosted a summit of the United for Wildlife [UfW] taskforces at St James’s Palace, having held his first solo engagement at Buckingham Palace, while his brother flew to meet his wife and child.
UfW was set up by the Royal Foundation – a joint foundation that was founded by William, Kate and Harry six years ago before he married – but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex then broke away from the foundation last June as rumours of a rift between the couples grew.
The Duke of Sussex will be focusing on his own charity commitments with Sentebale, the charity he founded in 2006, it emerged yesterday.
He has already organised events across America for the organisation, which supports children affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
The Duke of Cambridge today makes a speech during the meeting of the United for Wildlife Taskforces at St James’s Palace
Harry, who used a Sentebale dinner in London this week to claim he and Meghan ‘no choice’ but to quit as senior royals, has pledged to help the world beat AIDS as a legacy to his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, while his close friend Sir Elton John’s foundation has raised £240million [$300 Million] to fight the virus and help its victims.
Sentebale chairman Johnny Hornby told the Evening Standard today: ‘The duke is a global figure and HIV is a challenge for the world to try to help solve.
‘We know the duke has the ability to challenge the stigma that surrounds HIV and shine a light on these issues, whichever side of the pond he finds himself on.’
Yesterday the Duke of Sussex rushed through a series of meetings at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in Greenwich and is not believed to have seen William before catching a 5.30pm flight out of Heathrow to Vancouver.
But he did reportedly hold a meeting with his Kensington Palace team about managing his and Meghan’s affairs because they will now be in Canada for the foreseeable future.
Prince Charles may use multi-million-pound legacy from King George VI to fund Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Charles may turn to his multi-million pound inheritances from King George VI and the Queen Mother to bankroll Harry and Meghan’s Canadian adventure – but experts in royal finances fear taxpayers could still end up picking up the bill.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are worth up to £34million between them but have to pay back the £2.4million of public funds spent refurbishing Frogmore Cottage and are expected to buy or rent a gated mansion in Canada.
Charles has historically paid his son around £2.3million-a-year from his £1.2billion Duchy of Cornwall estate – which is considered a public asset because it has been gifted to the heir to the throne by every British monarch since 1337.
Charles is understood to have inherited millions from his grandfather King George VI, who died in 1952, and a significant sum from the Queen Mother, who died in 2002.
David McClure, the author of Royal Legacy, told The Times: ‘Charles is facing a significant outlay over a short period of time and may have to use private sources of income’, adding: ‘The Duchy of Cornwall is a cash cow for Charles so he is likely to have been able to use some of that money to build up a private portfolio of shares. Historically there has been a blurring of what is official spending and what is private.’
Former Lib Dem MP Norman Baker is an expert on Charles finances after writing his book And What Do You Do? What the Royal Family Don’t Want You to Know’ and claims Charles has banked £100million.
He said: ‘He [Charles] does not pay for anything if he is able to find someone else to foot the bill. He is the tightest of the royals’, and said: ‘He’ll support them [Harry and Meghan] through the Duchy of Cornwall. What he will then do, based on previous experience, is claim that as a legitimate expense and he will use that to reduce his tax liability and therefore the public purse will continue to support Harry indirectly.’