Canada will stop paying towards Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security costs “in the coming weeks”, a government spokesman has said.
A spokesperson confirmed the taxpayer has been paying some of the costs for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex since October 2019.
A statement given to Yahoo News UK from the Office of the Minister of Public Safety in Canada read: “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 recognised 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 October 2019. The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”
Harry and Meghan spent an extended break on Vancouver Island over Christmas, with their son Archie.
They returned to the UK in January and thanked representatives at Canada House for their nation’s hospitality.
But it was shortly after the visit that they made the shock announcement that they wanted to step back from royal duties, saying they would carve their own path.
Over the weekend, it was confirmed that their last day of senior royal duties would be 31 March.
In a statement on their website, they did not give any details on how their future security would be funded.
Part of the statement on the Sussex Royal website said: “It is agreed that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son. This is based on The Duke’s public profile by virtue of being born into The Royal Family, his military service, the Duchess’ own independent profile, and the shared threat and risk level documented specifically over the last few years.
“No further details can be shared as this is classified information for safety reasons.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously said he and his country were supportive of the Sussexes living there, but that there were “ongoing discussion” about who would pick up the security bill.
He added: “I think most Canadians are very supportive of having royals be here, but how that looks and what kind of costs are involved, there are still lots of discussions to have.
“There are still a lot of decisions to be taken by the royal family, by the Sussexes themselves, as to what level of engagement they choose to have.
“We are obviously supportive of their reflections but have responsibilities in that as well.”
Unofficial estimates put their annual security bill at £20m.
Prince Harry returned to the UK this week ahead of his final round of royal duties.
He spoke at a conference in Edinburgh for his sustainable travel brand Travalyst, and was introduced by Ayesha Hazarika who said: “He’s asked we just call him Harry”.
Meghan is likely to return to the UK early next week when she has engagements. She and Harry will attend the Endeavour Fund awards together on 5 March.
She will mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, but there are no details about what event she will attend.
The couple will step back from duties on 31 March, meaning from 1 April they will not be funded by the Crown.
They had been thought to be preparing to set up a foundation under the name Sussex Royal, but have confirmed they won’t be using the word royal in any territory, owing to its limitations in the UK.
The duke and duchess announced their intention to set up a non-profit organisation instead of a foundation. A spokesman for the couple previously said they would be focusing on the same issues after royal life as while they were senior members of the family.
Words by Rebecca Taylor
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