How will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle live in Canada?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could lose £2 million-a-year from the Royal purse after they announced they would be 'stepping back' from being senior members of the royal family.

Despite the couple having announced they would be splitting their time between North America and the UK, British tax payers could still be picking up a £600,000 annual security bill for the pair and their son baby Archie.

The couple recently returned from a six-week break in Canada over the festive period, where they spent their first Christmas together as a family at a £10.7million home in Vancouver Island.

Just last night it was revealed that the couple had started discussing their plans with senior royals — expected to include the Queen and Prince Charles, but the Palace told MailOnline that they would not comment on 'speculation.' 

This evening the couple took to Instagram where they shared the announcement, along with a picture of the pair smiling. 

They snubbed a royal Christmas at Sandringham just days after Prince Philip was taken to hospital, and instead spent time with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland at the luxury retreat.  

ITV News at Ten host Tom Bradby, close friends with the couple, told Good Morning Britain today that it was 'no big secret' that they have been considering what their future roles within the royal family will be. 

The move - dismissed as 'speculation' by the Palace - comes after a tough year for the couple, with royal insiders saying they felt sidelined by the monarchy, as they launched attacks on the British press and faced criticism over their use of private jets.

They first sparked claims they could be about to step out of the spotlight when they revealed to Bradby in an ITV documentary that they are struggling with the intense media scrutiny they face on a daily basis. 

But if they did move to Canada, how will it work? Will the British taxpayer continue to fund their lifestyle, who picks up the bill for security, and would they step back from their royal duties altogether?

Here MailOnline looks at the move abroad and what it means to Canada, the UK and the royal family itself.

The Duke and Duchess  this evening took to Instagram where they announced they would be planning to split their time across the UK and North America

The Duke and Duchess  this evening took to Instagram where they announced they would be planning to split their time across the UK and North America

If they move to Canada, where will they live – and how much is it likely to cost?

Harry and Meghan would naturally be drawn to Toronto, the city where they enjoyed a secret courtship of five months before their relationship was revealed to the world in October 2016.

Meghan, who was born and raised in California, considered it her home town after filming seven series of Suits there and openly says Canada is her 'second home' after Britain. 

The couple recently spent more than £2.4million of taxpayers' money refurbishing their Frogmore Cottage home - and buying a property of a similar standard in a Canadian city would cost significantly more.

The family spent Christmas in Canada and Harry posed for a picture with his little boy Archie

The family spent Christmas in Canada and Harry posed for a picture with his little boy Archie

Frogmore House was a gift from the Queen - but any Canadian home would likely be paid from their own pocket. 

Harry first met her in May 2016 when he was in Toronto to promote his Invictus Games for wounded servicemen and met the divorcee actress, who had split with her chef boyfriend of two years, Cory Vitiello. 

While he was there blind date after being set up by a female friend, believed to be designer Mischa Nonoo, and they 'met for a drink' in a Toronto bar.

They then spent the rest of 2016 meeting almost every fortnight, with Harry secretly flying to see her as she couldn't leave the city because of her Suits commitments.   They were holed up together in her flat with her dog Bogart and lived, largely, like a royal couple.

Describing their relationship, Harry has said: 'I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly... All the stars were aligned - everything was just perfect. It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life - I fell into her life.'

The £10million property where Meghan and Harry spent six weeks over Christmas and New Year

The £10million property where Meghan and Harry spent six weeks over Christmas and New Year

But there decision to head to Vancouver, rather than Toronto, for Christmas as a family could also be telling.

Harry, Meghan and baby Archie enjoyed all the luxuries on offer at a £10.7million waterfront mansion in one of the most idyllic spots on Vancouver Island - and are even believed to have taken their two dogs over with them, too.

They were also seen out hiking locally with friends, including actress Abigail Spencer, a friend of former actress Meghan’s from her days on the television drama Suits, with Meghan even offering to take a picture for one stunned couple they met who were struggling with their selfie stick.

They also posted a picture on Instagram of a delighted Harry holding his son, Archie, taken during their holiday to the delight of fans on New Year’s Eve.

Vancouver also has a high 'hipster' and in 2018 Goop, the controversial lifestyle brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, held its annual 'wellness summit' in the city with meditation sessions, workouts, and yoga classes, a pursuit loved by Meghan.

Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada for cost of living - and the luxury they are used in the United States will cost them millions of pounds. Toronto is the second most expensive.

Harry and Meghan are pictured in Toronto in 2017 as they leave the wheelchair tennis at the Invictus Games in 2017

Harry and Meghan are pictured in Toronto in 2017 as they leave the wheelchair tennis at the Invictus Games in 2017

Will they keep security? If so who will pay?

Harry, Meghan and Archie are understood to have up to six permanent Metropolitan Police bodyguards, funded by the taxpayer.

The officers are estimated to earn more than £100,000 a year including overtime. 

But when Harry was visiting Meghan in the early stages of their relationship, the security officers seen with him outside her apartment were thought to be Canadian, and therefore funded by Canadian taxpayers. 

Whoever pays, the Sussexes would require police protection for the rest of their lives. 

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline that a move abroad would be a 'huge undertaking' and the security costs would be vast.

Harry, Meghan and Archie are understood to have up to six permanent Metropolitan Police bodyguards, funded by the taxpayer. The officers (pictured) are estimated to earn more than £100,000 a year including overtime

Harry, Meghan and Archie are understood to have up to six permanent Metropolitan Police bodyguards, funded by the taxpayer. The officers (pictured) are estimated to earn more than £100,000 a year including overtime

He said: 'The speculation that they could withdraw from public life has been going for some time.

'It was given even more substance by that unwise documentary they gave where they spoke about the pressures they felt in the royal family. 

'But Harry has a duty to the Queen. 

'Moving abroad is a huge undertaking, they will have to find a location that wants you, the security costs would be vast and impossible to estimate.'    

How would the Duke and Duchess survive financially and will Harry keep his allowances if the leave the country but remains part of the royal family?

It would be an unprecedented moment - but it is unlikely the Queen, or his father Prince Charles, would cut off Harry and his wife if they chose to move abroad.  

Her Majesty pays Harry and William jointly £5million from the £82million annual Sovereign Grant, which is funded by the taxpayer, and handed to the most senior members of the royal family.

The £5million from their grandmother the Queen is not broken down between the royal siblings – but William is believed to get slightly more so Harry and his family probably receive around £2million from the Crown. 

The brothers also claim a further £3.16million a year in ‘non-official expenditure’ and is likely to be split in similar proportions.   

The couple recently spent more than £2.4million of taxpayers' money refurbishing their Frogmore Cottage home

The couple recently spent more than £2.4million of taxpayers' money refurbishing their Frogmore Cottage home

Another source of income for Prince Harry is his annual allowance from the profits generated his father's £1.2billion Duchy of Cornwall estate. Charles paid £4.9million to his sons from that pot last year. 

Harry and Meghan also claim staffing costs, which are currently estimated at just under £1million a year.

They employ a private secretary, who can earn up to £146,000, and a nanny for Archie who would also command a six-figure salary. London 'super nannies' who work for the capital's richest and most powerful families earn an average of £104,000, according to industry sources.  

At Frogmore Cottage they have a housekeeper - but no chef because Meghan loves cooking - two personal assistants and two palace orderlies probably earning between £20,000 and £30,000 each.   

Her Majesty pays Harry and William jointly £5million from the £82million annual Sovereign Grant, which is funded by the taxpayer

Her Majesty pays Harry and William jointly £5million from the £82million annual Sovereign Grant, which is funded by the taxpayer

The couple have significant personal wealth they could live on. 

Prince Harry’s net worth is estimated to be around £30 million. He inherited more than £20million from his late mother Princess Diana and around £7m from his great-grandmother the Queen Mother, who paid it into a trust fund him

Meghan has a net worth of around £4million herself, having earned £40,000 an episode on Suits. 

She also made £150,000 per film appearance and similar amounts from collections modelling each year. Her ‘Tig’ lifestyle blog was worth £60,000 a year to her before she shut it down when she announced she was Harry's girlfriend. And she is also believed to have a valuable property in Toronto.       

Prince Harry and Meghan are pictured with their  baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

Prince Harry and Meghan are pictured with their  baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

What if they quit as royals completely?

Harry and Meghan would lose millions from this decision - but could keep their titles if they choose.

Overnight the Sussexes would lose access to the the £8million given to him and William each year. Their £1million staffing bill would also be on them. 

When Edward VIII abdicated he still received millions a year from the Duchy of Cornwall estate and it would be unlikely that Charles would cut off his youngest son from this seven-figure income. 

Edward VIII gave up the throne because he wanted to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. 

He was king for 326 days before making a public radio broadcast where he said he wanted to abdicate so he could 'marry the woman he loved.'

When Edward VIII (pictured with his wife Wallis Simpson in 1936) he still received millions a year from the Duchy of Cornwall estate and it would be unlikely that Charles would cut off his youngest son from this seven-figure income

When Edward VIII (pictured with his wife Wallis Simpson in 1936) he still received millions a year from the Duchy of Cornwall estate and it would be unlikely that Charles would cut off his youngest son from this seven-figure income

They would also keep their grace-and-favour Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, because it was a gift to them by the Queen.

However, they would be expected to pay for renovations and some of its upkeep and any more taxpayer-funded works would be banned. 

They would keep the royal protection officers who protect them 24/7  

Will they keep their titles?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are said to be looking at relinquishing their royal titles as an 'option' as they consider their future. 

A move abroad would not necessarily mean they have to to ditch their HRH titles.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have already made the first step towards doing that after they decided they didn't wants their son, Archie Mountbatten to have a royal title.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who were the line of succession equivalent to Archie, had titles from birth.

King Edward VIII, who abdicated from the royal family in 1936, did not lose his royal title and was made the Duke of Windsor.

The Prince of Wales (pictured, alongside William, George and The Queen is already moving closer to adopting a modern 'Prince Regent' role, which would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch

The Prince of Wales (pictured, alongside William, George and The Queen is already moving closer to adopting a modern 'Prince Regent' role, which would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch

Prince Philip had to give up his own royal title as Prince of Greece and Denmark, in order to be able to marry into the British royal family. 

If Harry did give up his title it would have an impact on  the line of succession. 

Currently it stands as Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, then Prince Harry, followed by Archie Mountbatten Windsor, then Prince Andrew.

Without Prince Harry, Andrew would move up two places, as Archie also moves out of the line of succession. 

Will they still work for the Queen and turn up to royal events? 

The couple would continue to work for the Queen and turn up at royal events if they moved abroad.

If they decided to relinquish their royal titles, then they would not be bound by royal protocol.

But if they continued their work as the Duke and Duchess they could in theory step back from the number of official visits they are required to go on.

But royal commentators say it is unlikely they would step back completely, as Harry still 'has a duty' to the Queen as her grandson.

Former communication secretary for the Queen Dickie Arbiter told MailOnline that he thought it is 'highly unlilkely' they will ever move abroad and withdraw from royal duties.

He said: 'Harry is a senior member of the royal family, his duty is to the Queen.

The Queen (pictured with Prince William, Prince George and Prince Charles in a photograph released this month) expects her family to do their 'duty' and would probably be asked for her blessing by Harry,

 The Queen (pictured with Prince William, Prince George and Prince Charles in a photograph released this month) expects her family to do their 'duty' and would probably be asked for her blessing by Harry,

'It is highly unlikely they will move to Canada. They have been over there for six weeks over Christmas.

'They have had quiet time, they have had getting to know you time, but Harry is a senior royal.

'Harry is a senior member of the royal family, his duty is to the Queen.

'They may go over there from time to time, but moving over their full time and withdrawing from his royal duties is just not an option at all.' 

What impact would leaving Britain have on the royal family?

The Queen expects her family to do their 'duty' and would probably be asked for her blessing by Harry, who is close to his grandmother and is known to lean on her for advice. 

But in truth it is Harry's father Charles who would most need to be convinced of the plan. 

The Prince of Wales is already moving closer to adopting a modern 'Prince Regent' role, which would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch.

He also wants a slimmed down royal family, costing the taxpayer less money, but sees Harry, Meghan and Archie firmly at the institution's heart. 

Harry's brother William is also taking an active role in royal decision making, and he and Charles both reportedly took the lead and urged the Queen to sack Prince Andrew from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.  

The Duke of Cambridge said last year he was 'worried' about his brother after he talked about his mental health in a TV documentary and would be worried about the impact his brother leaving Britain would have on the royals.

But Harry and Meghan would promise to continue many of their key royal duties in the UK - and also argue they can boost the international profile of the Windsors from a foreign base, because a great deal of their charity work is already abroad, especially in Africa.   

The show must go on! Meghan Markle leaves London's National Theatre where she's patron - hours after it was claimed she and Prince Harry are 'considering' moving to Canada 

By Rod Ardehali and Terri-Ann Williams and Ed Riley for MailOnline

The Duchess of Sussex

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