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20 Jan 2020 8:25
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  •   Home > News > International

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say they want to establish financial independence. So who will pay for their security?

    Regardless of whether they're full-time, part-time or no-time Royals, Prince Harry and Meghan will still need security. But if they share their time between two different continents, who foots the bill?

    The world is still reeling from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's shock announcement that they plan to step back from their roles as senior Royals.

    The new parents' decision will see them "work to become financially independent", and split their time between the UK and Canada.

    As the hype over their bold choice dies down, there's plenty of questions being asked of how exactly this "progressive new role" will work.

    Regardless of whether they're full-time, part-time or no-time Royals, the couple will still need security measures in place — but does where they live decide who foots the bill?

    Will Canada pay for their security?

    They might pay for part of it, but there's no clear details at this stage of what the arrangements could be.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that there were talks in progress about the issue, but didn't give details on any concrete plans.

    "There are discussions going on," he told Canadian network Global News.

    "There's 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."

    CBC News correspondent Renee Filippone said all reports to date indicated discussions were still in early stages.

    "It's really unclear right now what bills the Canadian Government would be picking up, why, how this will all work," she said on CBC.

    "When it comes to the level of cost this is going to incur on the Canadian Government, it really is unclear at this moment. I think that's all going to be part of the discussions going forward."

    Who pays for their security now?

    Harry and Meghan have been entitled to protection paid for by the state in their roles as senior Royals.

    According to the Royals' 2018-19 financial reports, Sovereign Grant expenditure excludes the cost of physical security.

    There's limited official figures on how much that costs British taxpayers annually.

    Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl told CBC News overnight that it was difficult to put a price on how much any potential security changes would cost.

    "It's the one thing the Palace and the Met Police simply won't comment on," she said.

    "It might be a million a year, that's the figure you see in the papers and we really don't know if that is incredibly accurate or not."

    Ms Nicholl said there were two main talking points around funding at this stage — one being that details remained unclear, and the second that the couple still needed security no matter where they lived.

    "It's always been a sticking point, I think, for the British public, that if they're not going to be here, why on earth should the British taxpayer be funding their round-the-clock protection?" she told CBC News overnight.

    "If they want to go out and be financially independent, then people here I think believe that should extend to their protection. But our home secretary, and I think a lot of people see this point, that they are the biggest Royals on the planet at the moment.

    "The idea that they won't have any protection is unthinkable, because they would be targets."

    When will we know for sure?

    There's no official deadline, but it will likely be sooner rather than later.

    The Queen said in a statement that there was more work to be done on finalising future arrangements for the couple when she confirmed that she had given her blessing yesterday.

    While it might not be up to the Queen to decide whether or not Canada contributes to the protection of her grandson and his family, it sounds like she wants everything sorted out pretty quickly.

    "These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days," her statement read.

    © 2020 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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