The Canadian government will stop providing security support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) when they step down as senior members of the royal family “in the coming weeks,” Canada’s Office of the Minister of Public Safety confirmed to BuzzFeed News Thursday.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to re-locate to Canada on a part-time basis presented our government with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances,” a spokesperson for the minister said in a statement.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have been assisting the UK Metropolitan Police with the Sussexes on-the-ground security “intermittently” since November 2019.
“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,” per the statement. “The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”
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Although the Sussexes have not confirmed when they will be “stepping down” as senior royals for a one-year trial period, March 31 has been widely reported as the specific date. (A spokesperson for the couple told BuzzFeed News that they were not providing guidance on the exact date of the transition.)
However, Harry, Meghan, and their son, Archie, will still be protected by (taxpayer-funded) UK police — even while in Canada.
In a statement Friday, the Sussexes said that they required “effective security” because of “[Harry’s] public profile by virtue of being born into the royal family, his military service, [Meghan’s] own independent profile, and the shared threat and risk level documented specifically over the last few years.”
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment on the Canadian government’s decision.
The government’s decision will likely be popular with most Canadians. Per surveys compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, only 1 in 5 believe that Harry and Meghan’s security should be funded by taxpayers. In January, a petition protesting the use of taxpayer money for the Sussexes’ security garnered 80,000 signatures in six days.
Here’s the full statement from the Office of the Minister of Public Safety:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to re-locate 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 recognized 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.
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Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
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