There’s a reason why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are packing their bags and moving to Canada.
While Canada is a British Commonwealth country, it offers plenty of perks for the world’s most famous couple trying to raise their firstborn son, 8-month-old Archie.
Vancouver-based Roger McConchie, the founding partner of McConchie Law, told Fox News that British Columbia, where Vancouver Island is located, can provide Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a refuge from the ruthless paparazzi.
“British Columbia has a ‘privacy act,’ which gives people a right to bring a civil court lawsuit without having to prove they suffered monetary loss against someone who unreasonably invades their privacy,” he explained. “An invasion of privacy can involve ‘surveillance,’ but there are not many lawsuits for invasion of privacy, and the damage awards do not amount to much.”
McConchie also pointed out that British Columbia doesn’t suffer from the same invasion of privacy that the couple has faced in the United Kingdom.
“I doubt we have a significant population of local paparazzi,” he said. “In my experience, paparazzi tend to appear when there is a high-profile news story. Then they will collect outside the courthouse, or knock on people’s doors when they are facing arrest or criminal charges, or when somebody is doing a documentary about a high-profile event that was recently in the news.”
“There seem to be few cases where the camera is just trying to catch a celebrity in an embarrassing situation by following them around, spying on them,” he continued. “A lot of movies and TV series are made in Vancouver. That means a lot of celebrities walk [on] streets, dine in our restaurants and visits our sports bars. But for the most part, people don’t bug them for autographs or insist on selfies. We don’t stare or stalk. We like our privacy and respect theirs.”
“Unless foreign paparazzi descend, [the Duke and Duchess of Sussex] have a decent shot at enjoying some peace and quiet,” he added.
McConchie also said that British Columbia is an ideal place to raise their son, away from the glaring media spotlight while attempting to give him a normal upbringing.
“This province is amazingly beautiful,” he said. “The weather is temperate. If they are living near Victoria, they will have a taste of home at their doorstep. Vancouver Island is a quiet paradise with lots of hidden corners and secret gardens. The island is not entirely off the grid, but parts of it get pretty close."
And Markle is no stranger to Canada. The former actress, who was born in Los Angeles, called Canada home for six years while filming “Suits.” And even during their early days of dating, Harry, 35, visited Markle in Toronto where they attended the 2017 Invictus Games together. One of Markle’s best friends, stylist Jessica Mulroney, lives in Canada.
The royal couple will still have to follow immigration laws. They are both allowed to spend up to six months per year as Canadian visitors. If they wish to extend their stay, they must apply for a visa.
McConchie does have a key piece of advice for the celebrity visitors.
“Just be themselves,” he said. “They seem polite, decent people. They are not likely to be chased by cars over bridges or in tunnels or anything remotely like what happens in France, U.K. or USA.”
Last week, Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared on social media that their decision to step back as senior royals came "after many months of reflection and internal discussions."
"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth and our patronages," they said in a statement. "This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity."
"We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support," said the couple, who will reportedly keep their royal titles.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the reigning monarch shared in a statement. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.
“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives,” the 93-year-old said. “It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K.. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
In the October 2019 documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” the couple spoke out about enduring ruthless tabloid rumors as new parents.
Markle said she and her husband have had conversations about being in the spotlight and all the negativity that comes with it.
“I have said for a long time to H, that’s what I call him, ‘It’s not enough to just survive something,’” she said. “'That’s not the point of life. You have to thrive. You have got to feel happy.’ I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a ‘stiff upper life.’ I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.”
Markle said before she tied the knot with Harry, some of her friends warned her that becoming a member of the royal family would mean being under the constant glare of the public spotlight and losing your privacy.
“In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand and hear,” Markle said. “But when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy, but my British friends said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’”
“And I, very naively -- I’m American,” Markle said. “We don’t have that there -- [I said], ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not in any tabloids.’ I didn’t get it. So it’s been, yeah, it’s been complicated.”