Canada has refused to pay for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security when they step down as full-time royals in a few weeks, its government said on Thursday.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has protected the couple and their baby Archie since November, but now says the arrangement will end in the “coming weeks.”
It’s unclear who will pick up the tab after that. The couple could be forced to pay for it themselves, or to use money from the Duchy of Cornwall, a fund belonging to Harry’s father, Prince Charles.
The RCMP said that it had been providing the pair with protection at their $14-million bolthole on Vancouver Island — as requested by London’s Metropolitan Police — because they were so-called “Internationally Protected Persons.”
In a statement to Canadian broadcaster CBC, the RCMP said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moving to Canada part-time had presented the 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,” it said. “As the Duke and Duchess are currently recognized as Internationally Protected Persons, Canada has an obligation to provide security assistance on an as-needed basis.”
But it said, “The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously assured the Queen that her nephew’s family would be safe while in his country, with Canada expected to pay around half of the estimated $1.3 million annual bill.
Tensions have been rising after the Canadian Taxpayers Federation handed a petition with 80,000 signatures to the Prime Minister’s office insisting that Canadian taxpayer money should not be used for Harry and Meghan.
The couple are due to officially leave the British Monarchy on March 31.
As members of the royal family, Harry and Meghan are entitled to 24/7, taxpayer-funded protection at home and abroad, whether on official duties or on vacation.
Reportedly, the couple believes that arrangement should continue post-“Megxit,” even though the security bill could spiral as they tour the globe and prepare to split their time between Canada and Los Angeles.
But London’s Scotland Yard police force has privately suggested that it is not able to write a blank check for around-the-clock security if the couple is living abroad.
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