Canadian government to stop offering protection to Meghan and Harry because of 'change in status'

Chelsea Ritschel

The Canadian government has confirmed it will cease protecting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "in the coming weeks" as a result of the couple's "change in status".

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RMCP) have provided protection for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son Archie "intermittently since November 2019".

According to the RMCP, the force had an "obligation" to protect the Sussexes because they are recognised as Internationally Protected Persons. That protection is set to end in the coming weeks when the couple's duties as senior members of the royal family officially conclude.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to relocate to Canada on a part-time basis presented our government with a unique and unprecedented set of circumstances," Canada's Office of the Minister of Public Safety said. "The RMCP has been engaged with officials in the UK from the very beginning regarding security considerations. As the duke and duchess are currently recognised as Internationally Protected Persons, Canada has an obligation to provide security assistance on an as needed basis.

"At the request of the Metropolitan Police, the RCMP has been providing assistance to the Met since the arrival of the duke and duchess to Canada intermittently since November 2019. The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status."

Earlier this month, the duke and duchess announced they would formally stand down as senior members of the royal family from 31 March. In an update shared to the couple's website, they revealed how they plan on transitioning away from royal life.

According to the plan outlined, it was "agreed" that the duke and duchess "will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son". The decision was based on "the duke's public profile by virtue of being born into the royal family, his military service, the duchess's own independent profile, and the shared threat and risk level documented specifically over the last few years".

The couple declined to share further details regarding their security once they are no longer active members of the royal family, citing "safety reasons".

The announcement from the RCMP comes after concerns were raised over who would be paying for the couple's security in Canada. In January, thousands of Canadians signed a petition demanding that the couple pay their own security costs.