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Following the news that they have officially stepped back as working members of the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have begun their new, more private life, in Canada.
While Meghan has been in the country for a couple of weeks already with baby Archie, Prince Harry flew out to be reunited with his family on Monday.
And his return to North America signalled the start of the Sussexes life away from Britain and away from royal family, and all that comes with their former, official roles.
But what can Harry and Meghan expect – or hope for – for their new life away from the UK? There are still questions over their official residence, their security, and their financial situation, but we do know some facts about how they might spend their time as they kick off their new independent family life…
Where will Harry and Meghan live in Canada?
The family begun their six week break before Christmas on Vancouver Island (reportedly, in the North Saanich area) and it appears to be where they have set up their temporary home.
It’s reported that the Duke and Duchess are currently renting a lavish, £10 million country mansion right on the water on the island, which they have lived in since Thanksgiving (the first weekend of October). In fact, Duchess Meghan was spotted walking her dogs and son Archie in Horth Hill regional park earlier this week, a 29-acre hilltop park, suggesting their home isn’t too far away from the lush green surroundings.
Of course, it’s not yet known whether the couple and their young son are looking to move into a more permanent home any time soon, but we’d imagine that, if they do, it won’t be too far from where they’re currently situated. Vancouver Island offers the pair a thriving arts and outdoor lifestyle, and has the city of Victoria at its tip.
It’s also just a short boat ride away from the city of Vancouver, or a quick 35 minute flight – ideal if the family want to make a visit.
Vancouver is also just a short flight away from Toronto, where Meghan spent seven years of her life while filming the US TV drama Suits – so it’s likely a welcome return to a bit of familiarity for the Duchess, after two years spent living in London. And of course, there’s every chance that the two could set up their long-term home there eventually.
Who will pay for Harry and Meghan’s security in Canada?
The issue of the Duke and Duchess’s security is much debated, and their arrangements still have not been confirmed by the palace.
It’s certainly a complicated issue, with the family obviously requiring protection given their high-profile status. But there has been controversy recently over who will pay for their security given that they are now no longer working members of the British royal family.
When they were officially working on behalf of the Queen, they received tax-payer funded security from the Metropolitan Police, but it’s difficult to see how this might continue if they are living in Canada and no longer carrying out official royal duties.
It’s still not clear whether the Canadian government will begin paying for their security if they set up home in the country, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau having said, “Most Canadians are very supportive of having royals be here. But what kind of costs are involved, there’s still lots of discussions to be had.”
We’ll have to wait and see…
Who will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have as a support network in Canada?
Being in Canada means that Meghan will be nearby her support network of friends.
While living in Toronto before marrying Prince Harry, the Duchess developed a close friendship with stylist Jessica Mulroney, and her husband Ben, who are one of Canada’s most famous couples. The pair still live in the area, so she’d have them and their three children close by for playdates and socialising.
Also with a base in Toronto is one of Meghan’s closest confidantes, Markus Anderson. He is global membership director at Soho House, one of the Duchess’s favourite haunts, and the pair would be able to spend a lot more time together if Meghan and Harry set up a permanent home there.
Of course, Duchess Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland is also much nearer to her in Canada than she was living in the UK. Doria lives in LA, which is just a short two-hour flight from Canada, meaning it’ll be likely much easier for the mother and daughter to see each other.
How will Harry and Meghan spend their free time in Canada?
It appears that much of the draw for the Duke and Duchess may well be the peace, quiet and tranquility that Vancouver Island has to offer. The area is full of green space and vast open waters, and reportedly Harry and Meghan have been taking full advantage of their surroundings since landing in the area, going on hikes and walks as a family whenever they get the chance.
In fact, the couple were spotted hiking with their dogs and friends by a local couple recently, who were left gobsmacked by Meghan offering to take their photo!
Vancouver Island also has a wealth of fabulous restaurants to offer – perfect for foodie Meghan!
Where might Archie go to school in Canada?
If the royal couple really are planning to set up a permanent base in Canada, there are plenty of options for a school fit for the Queen’s great grandson, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Upper Canada College in Toronto is already being touted as an option for the not yet one-year-old. It’s a private boy’s school said to be modelled on Windsor’s prestigious Eton College, where Prince Harry himself was educated.
And the school already has royal connections. Prince Philip, Archie’s great grandfather, is listed as an official Visitor (an English title) of Upper Canada College, at the Prince’s request.
He’s visited the college over five times himself, so Archie would have sentimental links to his dad’s side of the family if he were to carry out his education in Canada.
How private a life will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex be able to lead in Canada?
Speaking to The Sun, royal historian Carolyn Harris, who is based in Toronto, argued that they may face less public scrutiny in Canada. She told the publication, “Canadians tend to take less interest in the private lives of public figures. There isn’t the same culture of paparazzi as in Britain or the US.”
That’s likely to be up for debate, now that the Duchess of Sussex has already been the subject of paparazzi photos while on a walk with her son, picture for which the couple are now suing. Meghan was also pictured arriving at Victoria airport to pick up her friend.
However, no other pictures have emerged of the couple during their time in the country, so these could well have been rare incidents, given the media buzz about them at the moment. Only time will tell how private Meghan and Harry will be able to be in future…