Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Exit Could Backfire: Expert Warns They May End Up With Less Privacy In Canada

After Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s plans to leave the royal family were finalized, Harry shared in a devastating speech how they felt that was their only option. After living in the spotlight and being constantly scrutinized by the public and media, Prince Harry and Meghan were hopeful that their move to Canada could provide the peace they’re seeking. According to one royal expert, however, there is concern that leaving the royal family could backfire on the couple.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the annual WellChild Awards in London on October 15, 2019
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan decided to take a step back

In January, Prince Harry and Meghan shared their future plans with their fans on Instagram, noting their desire to take a step back from their royal duties. The queen sorted out the details and approved of the Sussexes’ plan, with the agreement that they would give up their HRH titles and any public funding.

Following the queen’s statement on the matter, which shared that she supported the couple wanting to “start building a happy and peaceful new life,” Prince Harry delivered a speech that further explained the reasons behind the Sussexes’ decision.

“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” he shared with guests at a London fundraising dinner. “I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”

Canada may offer the peace they’re seeking

The couple’s need for privacy led them to make their extreme decision, but is giving up the royal life and fleeing to Canada the answer to their problems? One royal expert believes that they might have set themselves up for failure by making the move.

Following Meghan’s departure to Canada, images of the duchess with baby Archie made the rounds, showing that having absolute privacy is still going to be a challenge.

In a piece for Maclean’s, author Patricia Treble poses the question: “how much privacy can Harry and Meghan actually have now that they are leaving the protection of the royal family and its vast estates?”

Treble notes that “few paparazzi images of them ever made it into the British media” before they announced they were leaving behind their royal duties. “That’s partly because their residences are tucked behind layers of government-funded protection. Their home in Britain, Frogmore Cottage, is located within the secure confines of the large home park of Windsor Castle. Their current residence is on a secluded peninsula near Victoria on Vancouver Island, and guarded 24/7 by British and Canadian government security personnel,” Treble writes.

“Canada may provide the Sussexes with the best chance for the private family life they want,” Treble notes. “Unlike in Britain and the United States, Canadian culture — and media — have a reputation for not delving into the private lives of public figures unless they directly impact their jobs.”

“It seems to me that everyone — whether you have a title attached to your name or not — is entitled to some degree of privacy,” Michael McEvoy, British Columbia’s privacy commissioner shared. McEvoy pointed out the way that people crossed paths with Prince Harry and Meghan on hikes but they maintained a reasonable amount of privacy. “I think it says something about the culture of B.C. and Canada, the civility that exists here. People generally respect each other’s space,” McEvoy noted.

Will their decision backfire on them?

The move may certainly cut down on the way the Sussexes have had their privacy invaded when they were in the royal spotlight, but Treble shares the concern that they “may end up with less privacy.”

“Canada’s reputation for respecting privacy may also have its limits,” she writes, pointing to the media photographers who were on hand when Harry arrived in Canada’s Victoria airport after finalizing the deal to leave the royal family.

Will the Sussexes’ move work out how they hope? “In fact, the Sussexes may end up with less privacy than they had as full-time working members of the most famous family in the world,” Treble shares.

“They will never be ordinary citizens living regular lives,” the author continues, noting that they “have thrown the dice, gambling that the initial flurry of attention will fade, allowing them to forge a high-profile path through the commercial and philanthropic worlds while also controlling how much information is released about their most private moments.”

Treble wonders, as do many royal fans: “If their bet doesn’t pay off, will they manage to live happily ever after?”