The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move to Canada has raised questions about who should cover the royals’ security costs, estimated to be around £20 million a year. The Canadian Government has to date remained tight lipped over the issue, in the midst of growing public anger. That anger has led to a petition, organised by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), accumulating over 100,000 signatures in a matter of weeks.
The CTF is demanding that Justin Trudeau’s Government does not pay a penny of the security costs associated with the royal couple.
CTF Federal director Aaron Wudrick told Express.co.uk that Meghan and Harry could easily resolve the issue by making it clear they would pay for their own security.
He said: “To be fair to Harry and Meghan, they’ve never explicitly said they want support, but they have never clarified that and I think if they are not expecting support they should say so right in the open.
“There is no anger or dislike of them personally as a couple – the issue is money.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
“If they can make clear that they are not going to be a burden on Canadian taxpayers, I think they will find a very warn welcome here.”
Mr Wudrick warned that if the security saga was allowed to fester and drag on, then the consequences for the monarchy could be very serious.
He said: “What we’ve seen with Harry and Meghan is that even those people who are for the monarchy are not happy with the situation.
“The risk here is that if the Meghan and Harry saga plays out poorly, it could negatively impact the image of the Royal Family in its entirety.”
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He pointed out that demographics in Canada were continually changing, which meant that there were increasingly less people who had a personal heritage link to the UK and loyalty to the monarchy.
He explained: “I see the advantage of having a historical link. I don’t think countries should be in the business of erasing their historical links and their legacy.
“But at the same time, I recognise Canada is a changing place and there are fewer and fewer people who have a personal heritage connection to the United Kingdom.
“So some of them question why we have that link.”
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
He added: “I don’t think that there has been any really aggressive push to get rid of the monarchy, but I do think that if the Harry and Meghan saga – if it becomes an extreme cost for Canadians, some of them will question the whole arrangement with the monarchy.”
Canadian public opinion about whether to continue with the Queen as head of state is fairly evenly split.
The latest poll, carried out by Ipsos this month, showed that a slim majority, 53 percent, were sceptical of the monarchy‘s future after Queen Elizabeth II.
Royal Family Tree
The CTF Federal director also called on the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to clarify the Government’s position on Meghan and Harry.
He said: “I find it a little bit unusual that the Queen herself made a pretty definitive statement that it would not be the British public paying, and yet now here we are several weeks on and we have yet to have a decision from the Canadian government.
“So, my obvious question is if the Queen can make up her mind, decree that that quickly, I don’t understand what’s taking the Canadian Government quite so long.
Prince Harry and Justin Trudeau
“It’s time to make some decisions and Trudeau absolutely must be open with the public about it.
“We would prefer no support. At the very least it should be a very low ceiling on the support and whatever he decides it must be transparent to the public and I think anything else is unacceptable.
“The more he agrees to pay, the angrier the response will be.”