The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began their new lives in Canada by firing a warning shot across the bows of the media over paparazzi photographs they said were taken without consent.
Within hours of Prince Harry touching down in Vancouver to join Meghan and their baby son, Archie, the couple’s lawyers were threatening legal action over pictures taken of the Duchess of Sussex while out for a stroll.
The images, which were published by some UK outlets, showed the duchess walking in a public park on Vancouver Island. She was carrying Archie in a baby sling, while walking the couple’s two dogs, and was accompanied by two bodyguards.
Lawyers claim the photographs were taken without her consent by photographers hiding in bushes.
Harry’s arrival on Vancouver Island came just days after the couple reached an agreement with the Queen that will result in them leaving official royal duties for a financially independent future.
It was the first time the family has been reunited since it was announced they would drop their royal titles, repay the £2.4m public costs for the refurbishment of their Windsor home, and stop receiving money from the sovereign grant.
“What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you,” he said. “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations without public funding. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible.”
The couple has previously complained about their treatment by the British press. In his speech, Harry referred to the media as a “powerful force”, appearing to lay the blame for the couple’s departure at least partly at its feet. The Queen, in her statement released on Saturday, acknowledged the “intense scrutiny” the couple had been subjected to.
Meghan began legal proceedings against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday in October after the paper published extracts of a letter she had sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. At the same time, Harry issued a statement denouncing the media’s “bullying” of his wife, which he likened to the treatment of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
As the couple begin a period of transition, questions over who will fund their security remain unanswered. The justice secretary, Robert Buckland, told Sky News there must be a “line of delineation” over who funds the security costs of the Sussexes.
“I think there is an issue about how public money is spent. Quite clearly there have already been arrangements made about how that family are going to live and how they are going to be able to get private income but there clearly has to be a line of delineation.
“I think we all want a family like that to be safe, but at the same time I think what really needs to happen is they need to understand how their lifestyle is to adapt and what their needs might be.”
Pressed on whether the UK taxpayer should foot the bill while they are in Canada, he said: “I don’t have an easy answer to that, I don’t know at the moment what precisely their arrangements are going to be.
“I am, of course, concerned to make sure that taxpayers’ money is used effectively in order to provide protection to people who are offering a service to the British public.”