Lethbridge Herald

Victoria a natural fit for Royals



Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wouldn’t be the first couple to visit Victoria and end up wanting to make British Columbia’s capital city their home, says a royal expert.

If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decide to make the community their part-time base, the city’s mild winters by Canadian standards, British heritage and laid-back Vancouver Island lifestyle could be attraction­s.

“Very typically, people come here on vacation — we’re a tourist town — and they go home and they decide they would like to find a way to move to Victoria,” said Bruce Hallsor, a spokesman for Victoria’s Monarchist League of Canada. “That’s not an unusual story to hear around here.”

He said plans by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to spend part of their time in Canada also signals the start of a generation­al shift for the monarchy and the Commonweal­th.

The Queen approved a plan after a family meeting Monday, saying there will be a period of transition to sort things out on the couple’s future roles as members of the Royal Family during which Meghan and Harry will spend time in both Canada and the United Kingdom.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he had a lightheart­ed discussion Monday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the prospect of the royal couple making a part-time move to B.C. “We’re both kind of giddy about it,” he said.

They did not discuss the potential costs or security arrangemen­ts required for the potential move, Horgan said.

Hallsor said the decision by Harry and Meghan to step back from their royal duties could tighten Canada’s ties to the monarchy.

“The monarchy is an evolving institutio­n and it changes because it’s a human institutio­n,” he said. “It changes from generation to generation. I see this as an opportunit­y for Canada to strengthen its relationsh­ip with the Royal Family and for the monarchy to have even more relevance in Canada.”

He said the possibilit­y of Harry and Meghan planning to live and work in Canada should be viewed as a positive opportunit­y.

“The idea that all members of the Royal Family must live in the U.K., maybe that’s not something we need anymore, and maybe that will be normal in the future for members of the Royal Family to spread out among the Commonweal­th,” said Hallsor.

David Spence, president of Vancouver Island’s Royal Commonweal­th Society, said Harry and Meghan’s plans should be greeted as the start of a new generation for the monarchy.

“They are venturing beyond the traditiona­l royal roles that have been set,” said the former United Church minister. “It’s a new generation. I’m thinking they are the ones that will provide a 21st century expression of monarchy.”

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