“I don’t believe they can refuse the government of Canada’s security,” said Larry Busch, an ex-Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who directed security for world leaders including US presidents and the British royal family.
The cost could easily run into the millions of dollars, said Mike Zimet, whose eponymous New York executive security firm has protected clients including US Senator Bernie Sanders and actors Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alec Baldwin.
“If they want private protection, then a whole machine needs to be built around them,” he said.
Their level of security would be defined by a threat assessment, said Joe Balz, president of GloProSec Preventative Services, a Toronto-based security company, and an ex-RCMP officer who has worked with the royal family and other heads of state.
“There’s always going to be the odd idiot who causes some type of problem,” Balz said, adding that the couple would be safer in Canada than in the United States, where gun laws are much laxer.
Harry and Meghan have said gaining financial autonomy was a key goal, but declined to say whether this extends to the cost of security, stating that their security detail is mandated by the British Home Office.
They also would need to worry about their son, Archie, said Zimet, who called a kidnapping threat a “major situation”.
A poll for Canadian news company Postmedia found that more than 60 per cent of the 1515 Canadians surveyed would support the appointment of Harry as governor-general, the Queen’s representative in Canada, who acts as the head of state on her behalf.
The poll was conducted on January 6, two days before the couple announced their plans.