The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been serving as security detail for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry since last November, and Canadian taxpayers have been picking up the tab, the government revealed on Thursday, according to a CBC News report.
The free ride for the soon-to-be former royal couple is about to come to an end. According to the CBC report, Canada will stop paying for Markle and Harry’s security protection sometime “in the coming weeks,” Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will give up their royal titles and drop out of their duties as members of the British royal family starting on March 31. Until then, however, the couple are “recognized as Internationally Protected Persons,” a status which obligates Canada to provide security for them, at least on an as-needed basis.
When Markle and Harry drop out of the royal family in about four weeks, their “Internationally Protected” status also comes to an end, as they then become ordinary citizens of Great Britain.
British media outlets had previously reported that the Canadian government agreed to pick up the security bill for the renegade royals, who announced in January that they planned to drop their royal duties and strike out on their own, becoming financially independent, according to a CNN report.
The British royal family receives millions in taxpayer cash every year, but Markle and Harry will no longer benefit from public funds following their full exit from royal obligations. They also agreed to pay back $3 million in public money that they used to renovate their home.
When the couple announced their intention to relocate to Canada, taxpayers in that country were not happy about subsidizing the lapsed royals either. In a poll released in January, nearly three out of four Canadians, 73 percent, said that they had no interest in covering security costs for the couple with their taxes.
Those costs are estimated to run about $1 million CND per year, or about $780,000 USD, annually.
A group known as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation delivered a petition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with 80,000 signatures opposing any taxpayer money being spent on security costs — or any costs — for Markle and Harry, according to the CBC report.
The couple and their 9-month-old son Archie have spent most of 2020 in Canada, according to a report by the BBC.
As they pursue opportunities to create their own income, some experts say that they will follow the “Obama model,” signing lucrative book contracts and even a Netflix development deal that could be worth as much as $50 million.