Over 80,000 Canadians sign petition calling for Harry and Meghan to pay for their own security
23 January 2020, 10:39 | Updated: 23 January 2020, 10:41
More than 80,000 people in Canada have signed a petition for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to pay for their own security after they started their new life away from the royal family.
The petition by the Canadian Taxpayer Federation (CTF) racked up tens of thousands of signatures over six days.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have begun their new life on Vancouver island where they are staying with baby Archie.
The CTF’s federal director Aaron Wudrick said: ““Canadians are pleased to welcome the Duke and Duchess to Canada, but have made it crystal clear that taxpayers should not be forced to support them while they are living here.”
“All Canadians wish them well as they realize their ambition of financial independence.”
It emerged this week that British-paid bodyguards partnered with Canadian Mounties were monitoring the couple. But questions remain over who will foot the multi-million pound bill for their security.
Harry was accompanied by two Scotland Yard close protection officers. Experts told the Daily Mail the cost of protecting the Sussexes abroad could be between £3m and £6m.
The most likely outcome is some sort of ‘cost sharing’ deal.
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.'
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated that his country would pick up some of the bill, but polls show that nearly three-quarters of Canadians do not want their taxes to pay for the couple’s security.
Asked about who would pay for their protection, Britain's justice minister Robert Buckland said: “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.”
Separately, Meghan's estranged father Thomas Markle has told of his sadness at being made to watch his daughters wedding from a 'safe house'. He made the remarks in a documentary for Channel 5.