- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are rumoured to be moving to Canada as they transition out of royal duties and drop their HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles.
- But according to Canadian media and law experts, Prince Harry and Markle’s wish for a more private life in Canada marks “new territory” for the country.
- Prince Harry and Markle attract a paparazzi presence that’s unfamiliar for most Canadians.
- Canada has laws that protect individuals from invasions of privacy, but the statutes are typically not interpreted in the context of royals or celebrities.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle start anew and prepare to transition out of their royal duties, they are rumoured to be moving to Canada.
On January 18, Buckingham Palace announced that starting in the spring, Prince Harry and Markle will no longer formally represent the Queen. They will also no longer use their HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles and will stop receiving public funding.
Earlier in January, Prince Harry and Markle announced via their own Instagram account their decision to step away from royal life and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
The Sussexes have their reasons for potentially choosing Canada as their next place of residence
The couple is believed to now be residing on Vancouver Island, located in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Prince Harry reportedly landed on the island a day after the palace announced the couple’s impending departure from royal duties, while Markle is believed to have been residing in the Vancouver Island area since shortly after she and Prince Harry announced their plans on Instagram.
Canada was Markle’s home for several years while she was filming the TV series “Suits” in Toronto. It’s also possible that the couple chose Canada as their potential residence, as it is part of the British Commonwealth, a network of 53 countries that has governmental and organizational ties to the UK.
Their arrival marks ‘new territory’ for Canada
Dean Jobb, the author of “Media Law for Canadian Journalists” and a professor of media law, journalism ethics, and feature writing at the University of King’s College in Halifax, told Insider that the paparazzi coverage that Harry and Meghan bring with them from the UK is unusual for most Canadians.
“The kind of aggressive paparazzi coverage that the royals attract is not unheard of in Canada, but it’s not as common here,” Jobb continued. “That means there is a different landscape here than may have been the case in Britain.”
In January, Markle was photographed walking her dogs in a public park on Vancouver Island. Prince Harry and Markle then directed their lawyers to issue a warning to media outlets that published the “unauthorised” photo of the duchess.
Regardless of whether or not the couple’s legal warning pertained to the Canadian or British legal system, Jobb said that the situation raised questions that, previously, were rarely considered in Canada.
“This is new territory in terms of privacy law and media law in Canada,” Jobb said.
David Fraser, a privacy lawyer at McInnes Cooper in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told Insider that the province of British Columbia, which includes Vancouver Island, has the Privacy Act – a statute that protects individuals from invasions of privacy. However, he added that what constitutes an invasion of privacy is vague and largely undefined.
“One thing worth noting is that while we have these laws and while we’ve had these laws for some time, they haven’t been used that often and they have not been used in context of celebs royals public figures – perhaps because we do not have the same paparazzi culture in Canada,” Fraser said.
Many Canadians are understanding of Harry and Markle’s decision to move
Fraser said that he thinks most Canadians, while not familiar with the aggressive paparazzi culture that is inherent with the royal couple’s arrival in Canada, will be understanding toward their situation.
“I think many people would be sensitive and sympathetic with the Sussexes coming to Canada, which was, as I understand it, in order to avoid a repeat of what happened to Diana,” Fraser said.
Fraser continued: “It seems to me that the principal element that has prompted their radical change of lifestyle and radical change of status is because of the spotlight.”
But ultimately, it’s unrealistic to assume that everyone will be respectful of the couple’s privacy, especially when it’s ‘unclear’ what the consequences could look like
In the first week that both Markle and Prince Harry were both rumoured to be residing on Vancouver Island, a water taxi driver refused to take a Japanese TV crew to a private residence thought to be owned by the Sussexes.
“I know what it is to get the shot – the money shot,” Miles Arsenault, the water taxi driver, told CBC radio host Carol Off. “Reporters, photographers, videographers – they need to make a living. But they’re not going to make it on my boat.”
However, it’s reasonable to assume that many people living in Canada, whether on Vancouver Island or elsewhere, will have a natural curiosity as to the whereabouts of Markle and Prince Harry in their new chapter of life.
And not all citizens will take the perspective of Arsenault, who turned down business to help protect the couple’s privacy.
As Jobb said, the royal couple’s move and concerns about privacy could mark one of the first times legal experts or government officials are forced to “dig deeper into issues that are unclear in Canada at this point.”
- Read more:
- The royal family’s outfit choices have changed to reflect the mournful mood of ‘Megxit,’ according to a fashion expert
- How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from their royal duties could increase the workload for other royals
- I spent a day in Windsor, and I don’t know why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would ever want to leave
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