PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle left Canadian taxpayers covering their hefty £30,000 security bill after fleeing an £11m mansion during Megxit, allege campaigners.
Advocacy group Canadian Taxpayers Federation made the startling revelation following an information request to authorities.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the decision to permanently move to California[/caption]Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House, London, on March 5[/caption]The royal couple were spotted in April, while in LA as they deliver meals to residents in need during the coronavirus pandemic[/caption]
"Documents obtained by the federation through an access to information request show that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) spent more than $50,000 on overtime and logistics costs to provide security for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry after they briefly moved to Canada," it said in a press release.
Canada announced in February that it would stop paying for the royal couple's security costs once they stepped back from royal duties.
Aaron Wudrick, the campaign group’s federal director, added: "For months, the Trudeau government refused to even acknowledge Canadian taxpayers were on the hook for Harry and Meghan's security costs.
More than $50,000 is nothing to sneeze at.Aaron Wudrick, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
"Now we know the answer is ‘yes’ – to the tune of at least $50,000."
The Mounties’ documents show bills totalled $56,384 as of January 22, 2020, the taxpayer advocates said.
“Those totals do not include salaries or costs incurred after that date.
“The RCMP clearly expressed concern over the media scrutiny of those costs,” their press release added.A new book about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will claim it was his decision to quit the Royal Family[/caption]A spokesman for the Sussexes said ‘Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangement’[/caption]Harry and Meghan have left Canada now for good[/caption]
The group included a quote reported to have been found in an email exchange between Bernadine Chapman, Commanding Officer of RCMP’s national division, and police colleague.
She was said to have written: “Media is on this like a hot potato… so lots of coverage of the potential of the royals to spend half their time in Canada now as a couple.
“We are having a greater conversation next week on the go forward on this. This has a potential to cost us huge!”
The taxpayers group said that “many Canadians were happy to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to make their home in Canada”.
But, “80,000 people signed the Canadian Taxpayers Federation petition telling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to not use taxpayers' money to cover bills for the rich and famous couple”.
“The costs were piling up even as Trudeau refused to say whether or not Canadians were paying to protect the royal couple.
“The documents show the RCMP spent at least $56,384 from November 18, 2019, to January 19, 2020,” it added.
Wudrick said: “More than $50,000 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you consider the fact that this is taxpayers' money covering bills for one of the most famous and wealthy couples in the world.
“Had the government not cut them off and had Meghan and Harry stayed in Canada, the bill could have easily turned into millions.”
At the end of March, it was revealed that Harry, Meghan and their son Archie had fled Canada amid the coronavirus pandemic and have moved permanently to California.
The shift marked the next stage of their planned exit from the UK, after spending weeks at a £11million Canadian mansion.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed their US security will be “privately funded” after President Donald Trump refused to foot the bill.
Questions over who would pay for their security had arisen after Harry and Meghan said they wanted to become “financially independent”.
The couple confirmed privately-funded security arrangements had been made for their new life from the Megxit date of March 31.Prince Harry during the recording of his on-camera introduction to the new animated special ‘Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine’[/caption]Prince Harry and Meghan with their baby son Archie [/caption]
During the couple's brief time in Canada, there was much debate over who was to pay for their protection.
The current Canadian security bill “does not include the salaries paid to the Mounties on duty and only shows the pay costs such as overtime, travel, meals, incidentals and accommodations,” the group reported.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation advocated against spending any taxpayers' money on the couple’s expenses.
“We're proud to have given voice to the vast majority of Canadians who felt subsidising the Sussexes' lifestyle choices was an outrageous use of tax dollars,” said Wudrick.
The RCMP told campaigners its protection of the couple ended on March 14.
But, according to the advocacy group, the Mounties “refused to provide a total summary of costs for the whole visit”.
"For security reasons and to protect our operations, we are not releasing salary costs.
"Security costs for protection are covered through the existing operational budget,” added a statement from the RCMP.
The federation has filed access to information requests to obtain the total of all public spending on the couple throughout their stay in Canada, including RCMP salary costs.