For the first time in what seems like a long time, the biggest royal news this week had nothing to do with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Instead, it was the separation of Peter Philips (Princess Anne’s son) and his wife, Autumn, as first reported by the Sun.
Since their bombshell announcement in early January—and the Queen’s decisionthat they would no longer be working members of the royal family—things have been mostly quiet on the Sussex front. A picture of Meghan Markle hiking with their dogs and son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in Vancouver Island (where the couple resides) circulated mid-month. But a statement threatening legal action against those who published the photo set a precedent that in their new life, privacy will be the top priority.
In Canada, that may be possible. Whereas the United Kingdom and United States have a deeply ingrained paparazzi culture, Canada has less of one. This is partially due to a lack of subjects—Los Angeles, New York, and London are all mega hubs for the rich, photographable, and famous. It also seems the community of Vancouver Island, where the royals are currently residing, is protective of its own: A water taxi driver, for example, refused to take photographers to their home.
Then there are British Columbia’s unique privacy laws, which state the couple can sue over photographs if they feel like their privacy was invaded. (Per the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association: “In British Columbia, an individual has a right to sue for invasion of privacy, and the individual is not required to prove that they suffered harm as a result of the invasion of privacy.”)
Considering Prince Harry and Meghan Markle already have threatened to do so, and are also concurrently suing multiple British tabloids, the message is clear to media around the world: This couple is not afraid to pull the trigger on a lawsuit. It doesn’t mean they’ll win. But they can, at the very least, cause a huge (and expensive) headache.
So, what have they been up to in Canada? Here’s what a source told People: “They go for long walks, they do yoga, and Meghan cooks. They are real homebodies who love to chill out with Archie and the dogs.”
It hasn’t been all chilling, though: Last week, it emerged that the couple flew down to South Beach, Florida, for a J.P. Morgan event. A palace source confirmed to the BBC that the Duke spoke at the event, where it’s thought he talked about mental health, a cause championed by the couple. It’s unclear whether he was compensated for the appearance. They are still technically working royals until this spring, but down the line, public speaking could be a considerable source of income for the couple. Previously, an expert told Vogue they could command fees in the six-figure range.
Meanwhile the Times of London reported that one of Harry’s old appointments, captain general of the Royal Marines, will be given to a new royal: Princess Anne. She will be the first woman to hold the title. While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new reality is shaping up, their old one is slowly fading—and being reassigned—away.