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If the Canadians won't pay for Harry and Meghan's security, who will?

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship

The future of the security plans for Harry and Meghan after they depart the Royal family next month have been much debated.

Reports this week suggested the Home Office had priced them at £20 million - triple their current cost.

We don't know how accurate that is - but it's safe to assume the costs will be a lot more.

Consider the security picture right now: Harry is in the UK. Meghan and Archie remain in Canada. Next week Meghan will fly here to be with Harry and it's thought Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, will stay in Canada.

That's a lot of flying, and a lot of bases to cover for the Police Protection Officers - who come out of the Metropolitan Police budget via the Home Office (so taxpayer funded).

The duke and duchess intend to spend the majority of their time in North America after their break from royal life. Credit: PA

Today the Mounties, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who look after federal security in Canada, say they will stop paying for the Duke and Duchess' security "in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status".

Canada does have an obligation to look after the Royal family when they visit because, like in Australia and New Zealand, the Queen remains the Head of State.

But Public Safety Canada, which funds the Mounties, have essentially told the Sussexes: "If you're no longer going to be royals, then we're no longer going to pay for your security."

The couple will spend the majority of their time in North America. Credit: PA

We don't know where Harry and Meghan plan to live in Canada or the USA in the coming years, but the Sussex family is currently living on Vancouver Island in British Colombia on Canada's far west coast.

There, they have an unspecified number of British protection officers with them at all times.

Buckingham Palace simply said they don't comment on security matters but the trouble for the Palace is that the Canadians now have - and so too have Harry and Meghan.

When I pointed out to Buckingham Palace that the Sussexes had themselves commented on their security plans, no reply was forthcoming.

The couple wrote last week that they "require effective security to protect them" because Harry was "born into the Royal family" and because Meghan has her "own independent profile."

Harry and Meghan will leave the Royal family at the end of March. Credit: PA

So who will pay?

As Canada won't be, then the cheques are either going to land on British taxpayers or on Harry and Meghan - who wrote that they have "permission to earn their own income" in what they call their new "independent life as a family".

You'd have thought this had all been squared away by now.

But it hasn't been.

And the Canadians have just made it abundantly clear, that it won't be their responsibility any more when the Sussex exit plan comes into effect on 31st March.