When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to Vancouver, polls and petitions popped up to discourage their stay. The royal couple were welcomed, but Canadians feared they would have to pay for the new residents on Vancouver Island.
In surveys and interviews with Canadians, the value Canadians put on the British Monarchy is small. People think they are a part of “international news” and have little relevance in their daily life.
On January 8, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they would leave their royal duties to live independently in Canada and the UK.
Sean Spence, a doctorate student in Security Risk Management, estimated Prince Harry and Meghan’s security cost could amount to $2.5 million CAD, including security measures that cost $50 000, a threat risk assessment from $35 000 to $70 000, a panic room costing $50 000 to $500 000, and an armored security car cost to $1 million. There is also the price of “five full-time close protection officers” per year of $1.4 million.
On January 13, Prime Minister Trudeau explained that there were many factors to think about and the cost would not be settled until a further date. It was later said after March 31, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would not be addressed as “his highness” and ‘“her highness.” Then Canadians will not have to pay for their stay. The cost for taxpayers was not addressed.
Bill Blair, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, stated, “The RCMP has been providing assistance to the Met [Metropolitan Police] since the arrival of the Duke and Duchess to Canada intermittently since November 2019.” He says, “The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”
The statement had been a relief to many as over 80 000 Canadian’s signed a petition for their tax money to not assist the royal couple.
In a poll by Angus Reid Institute, 73% of Canadians believe they should not cover their security cost, as they could not welcome Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to benefit from their taxes for a long term period.
A survey by 8Forty.ca had shown 82% of students and administrators in a Burnaby high school were against paying for their security costs while in Canada. Many said Prince Harry and his family still have the resources for them to live independently.
When an Alpha Secondary school administrator was asked about paying for the royal couple’s safety he said, “They have the means and if they want to be normal then they should pay for it. So unless there’s a trade-off, I’m saying ‘no’ to taxes.”
Other Canadians referenced more general disdain of the royal family. “They don’t care for the public, the roads are dirty,” a Walmart shopper said, “While the royal family lives in luxury with a museum that has stolen goods from conquered countries.”
During an interview with an employee at Walmart, she mentioned the royals “don’t matter in public.” She said that as a Canadian, the British Monarchy didn’t affect her.
Even some Canadians who do not pay taxes yet are skeptical about the monarchy. A grade 10 student in Burnaby, BC asked about potentially paying extra taxes for security costs said, “They are figures. We don’t need to fund them.” The student said she believed that as a citizen of Canada, the British Monarchy gives no benefits to her, and is not in power or influence over her.
In other countries the royal family are national guests and ambassadors. Once they step across their own borders, they are recognized as important members in discussing and representing the British nation.
In the survey of 183 people by 8forty.com, 82% said they just didn’t want to pay any taxes, not due to any special disdain of the royals.
These Canadians don’t generally consider the British Monarchy of personal value to them. It can be said they are on a neutral stance about the royal family and not hold a deep like or dislike for them.
“The British Monarchy are like everyone else with fancy titles and money to spend,” one grade 10 student said. “Think about this: do they even consider Canadians important?”
Cover image by Carfax2/ Wikimedia