A Canadian monarchist says Prince Harry and Meghan’s part-time move to Canada marks the first time in recent history that the royals will maintain a regular presence in the country.
Queen Elizabeth II granted her seal of approval in a statement Monday to the plan that will see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex split their time between Canada and the U.K. during a “period of transition.”
Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, says Canada is a natural fit for the young royals, allowing them to maintain their connection to the Crown while offering relief from the intense scrutiny they face in the U.K.
“When Harry goes to store here in Canada, his grandmother’s still on the coin, right?” Finch said. “I think many members of the royal family have seen how they can live a little less formal, be a little less stuffy, really let their hair down.
“Canada’s a vast country, and sometimes it’s nice to be lost in the vastness of it.”
Finch said the prospect of royals living among us could serve as a constant reminder to Canadians of the country’s ties to the British monarchy.
The Sussexes’ move also raises the possibility that baby Archie will grow up as a Canadian, he said, with a local accent to boot.
“(The Commonwealth) is an international institution,” he said. “It should just be seen as a natural part of the monarchy and the way business is done in the 21st century.”
Finch expects that many Canadians will be excited to have some regal glamour close to home, but disgruntled taxpayers might take issue with the prospect of footing the bill for Harry and Meghan’s lifestyle.
Speaking to reporters in Toronto, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said there haven’t been any discussions about who will cover the couple’s security costs.
“We haven’t spent any time thinking about this issue,” Morneau said Monday. “We obviously are always looking to make sure that as a member of the Commonwealth that we play a role.”
Finch noted that other questions remain about what public role the couple will take on in Canada and the longevity of their stay.
The Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment on the pending move, including potential costs to Canadians.
In order to become permanent legal residents of Canada, members of the Royal Family would have to apply through the normal immigration process, said Citizenship and Immigration spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon in a statement.
They’re not required to seek authorization to stay as visitors, Fenelon said.