Canada appears split over whether to welcome Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the couple branded ‘freeloaders’ by some while others insist their residency will elevate the nation’s status in the world.
The country’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has said that Harry, Meghan and eight-month-old Archie ‘were among friends, and always welcome here’ as the family spent six weeks in a £10million Vancouver mansion over Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.
Harry and Meghan’s plan to live in Canada has captivated the nation as they negotiate an abdication deal with the Queen on money, titles and establishing their international commercial brand.
Critics have said that the couple are simply not welcome to settle in Canada, suggesting their presence would cost taxpayers £5million [$10million] and would cause a constitutional crisis.
This is because no British royal has ever settled there and the nation prides itself about not having any aristocracy with anyone offered a peerage in the UK expected to renounce their Canadian citizenship first.
But respected broadsheet the National Post said yesterday that denying Harry, Meghan and Archie a home would be ‘all-too-typical’ of the North Amercian nation, branding it ‘Canadian cheapness at its worst’.
Canada appears split over whether to welcome Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Pictured: Meghan photographed on Tuesday leaving the £10million Vancouver Island home where she and Prince Harry stayed over the holidays with Archie
Canadian poll finds 73% oppose Sussexes’ move – but there is a glimmer of hope for ‘popular’ Harry
A Canadian poll taken after the Sussexes quit last week has found:
– 73% of Canadians say ‘no thank you’ to paying for any aspect of the couple’s move or security;
– 25% says Royal Family is getting less relevant to Canada and 41% say it has no relevance at all;
– 45% say Canada should not continue as a constitutional monarchy – unchanged since 2016;
– The Queen is favourite royal – but Prince Harry is next best loved, above his brother William and father Charles, with Prince Andrew the worst rated;
And a new poll in Toronto, a city Meghan lived for seven years, has found that her husband is, after the Queen, regarded as their favourite Windsor.
The country’s biggest newspaper, The Globe and Mail, has written a scathing editorial said: ‘Canada is not a halfway house for anyone looking to get out of Britain while remaining a royal.’
It editorial condemned the couple’s ‘vague and evolving plan to move to Canada while remaining part of the Royal Family’, adding: ‘The Trudeau government’s response should be simple and succinct: “No”’
The Globe and Mail, a conservative paper that traditionally supports the monarchy, wrote: ‘If they were ordinary private citizens, plain old Harry and Meghan from Sussex, they would be welcome.
‘But this country’s unique monarchy, and its delicate yet essential place in our constitutional system, means that a royal resident – the prince is sixth in the line of succession – is not something that Canada can allow. It breaks an unspoken constitutional taboo.’
The editorial said Canada’s relationship to the monarchy was different from Britain’s, adding: ‘Our royals don’t live here. They reign from a distance. Close to our hearts, far from our hearths’.
The Globe and Mail said it was not a question of money, writing: ‘It goes deeper than the possibility of the feds having to find a few million extra bucks.’
And a new poll in Toronto, a city Meghan lived for seven years, has found that her husband (pictured with Archie in Canada during their six week break there over Christmas) is, after the Queen, regarded as their favourite Windsor
The newspaper has been inundated by letters and emails from readers, many of them also opposed to the Sussexes long-term presence in the country.
One critic wrote: ‘Meghan and Harry: If you are reading these comments, please take them to heart and stay in Britain’, another said: ‘If they propose to freeload on the Canadian taxpayer, then no thanks. I see no need to subsidize the royal soap opera’.
Another angry reader said: ‘As an immigrant from the United Kingdom and now every bit a Canadian, it seems to me the height of condescension that Harry, a UK citizen, and Meghan, a US citizen, seem to take it for granted that they may live as long as they please in Canada without having to go through any formalities. And worse, that the Canadian citizens should pay or his security staff while he loiters in this country’.
One more cynical view, repeated a number of times by readers, said: ‘They don’t really want to move to Canada. I think Meghan wants back to Los Angeles, that’s the real, final destination’.
There was some support, however, with one fan saying: ‘Of course they can live here. Long-standing traditions often come to an end. I think it would be great to have Harry and Meghan live here’.
Canadians are split over the royal issue, with some furious about reports their government has offered to pick up the tab for Harry and Meghan’s security – which will cost millions of pounds a year.
The Canadian finance minister has insisted that no such discussions have taken place.
A poll published in the Toronto Sun has found that Harry is the city’s favourite royal as the Sussexes consider where to settle. Harry and Meghan courted in the city and will be drawn to returning.
But nearly three-quarters of people were opposed to paying towards their costs and while support for his grandmother the Queen is ‘deep, broad and strong’, two thirds said the royal family is losing or has lost its relevance and 45 per cent said Canada should not continue as a constitutional monarchy.
Writing in the Globe and Mail, Philippe Lagassé a professor at Carleton University, wrote: ‘As Prince Philip once quipped most members of the Royal Family don’t come here [Canada] for their health; they come because we’ve asked.
‘A recent poll found that 73 per cent of Canadians are opposed to such spending and two-thirds say the House of Windsor is losing or has lost relevance. But their presence will be awkward. They would be more or less permanent embodiments of a British monarchy that remains attached to our independent Canadian Crown, reminding us of what we were – not what we’ve become’.