Harry and Meghan's battle for privacy in Canada will be '10 times worse' than before

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's battle to keep their private lives out of the media spotlight has been made 'ten times worse' by their move to Canada, experts have warned.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan are on Vancouver Island preparing to forge a financially independent new life for themselves and their eight-month-old son Archie, after stepping back from royal duties.

However, within days of trying to set up their new life, the couple issued a legal warning to the media after various outlets published paparazzi shots of Meghan walking her dogs in a park on Vancouver Island with Archie.

Harry was also snapped within minutes of his plane touching down in Canada on Monday.

They have also claimed attempts have been made to picture them in their home with long range lenses and paparazzi have been permanently camped outside their home.

Privacy laws in the province of British Columbia mean that they could potentially sue if their photo is taken in a public place.

Duncan Larcombe, who worked as the Sun's royal editor for more than a decade, said the move to Canada will not stop the pair from being photographed - adding that their deteriorating relationship with the press is making things worse for them.

Among the issues the Sussexes have created, he says, is withdrawing from the 'royal rota' system that previously gives them a direct line to royal correspondents, which could allow them to stop unwanted paparazzi photos appearing in the media.

He told Yahoo News UK: "By burning those bridges, all that goodwill that's been bought up over the years - Harry has taken a sledgehammer to those agreements by saying they were hounded, the British public is racist, it is all awful, woe is me.

"Well that's fine, but he now finds himself thousands of miles from the UK dealing with photographers who have absolutely no qualms about hiding in a bush and taking his photograph, or photos of Meghan out for a walk with Archie.

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie, meet Anglican Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah in Cape Town, South Africa,Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The royal couple are on the third day of their African tour. (Henk Kruger/African News Agency via AP, Pool)

"They don't care, why should they? As far as they're concerned he's just another famous face like Brad Pitt or George Clooney - there's no royal factor whatsoever.

"Having burned all his bridges with the British royal (press) corps - well, who's going to actually turn round and say 'is it alright to run this picture or will it upset Harry'?

"It's a two-way relationship that Harry's walked out on."

Legal differences

While British Columbia's lush landscape and mild climate likely helped lure the Sussexes to hunker down there indefinitely, the province's privacy laws probably didn't hurt either.

Markle's lawyers filed a cease-and-desist to British media outlets this week, threatening legal action if they published photos of her taken recently while she was walking with her son and dogs on Vancouver Island.

Daniel Reid, a Vancouver-based lawyer at Harper Grey who specialises in privacy laws, says Markle would have an easier time going to court in British Columbia over privacy issues, than in most other parts of the country. That's because since 1996, the province has enforced the Privacy Act, which allows people to sue for breach of privacy.

The act states that someone can sue for damages if they feel that their privacy is breached unreasonably.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during the annual WellChild Awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.

"Just because someone's a public figure or in a public space, doesn't mean that can't have expectations of privacy," he told Yahoo Canada. "The issue is what's a reasonable expectation of privacy in the circumstances."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have a limited expectation of privacy in certain circumstances, especially if they're attending public events. However, they may feel like their privacy is being breached if photographers are taking unauthorised photos of them on their property, or with a drone.

"It always turns on this idea of what's reasonable in the circumstances," Reid says.

He explains that BC's Privacy Act makes an exception in some cases, like reporting on matters of public interest. However, that doesn't apply if the matter being reported on is obtained in a way that violates privacy.

"Surveillance or eavesdropping can absolutely be a violation of privacy under the privacy act here in BC," he says.

Most other provinces in the country don't have a privacy act like in B.C. In Ontario, for example, you can sue for lack of privacy but through the common law, which is still developing the terms of what that means.

'Pointless exercise'

Mark Stephens, a solicitor who specialises in media law and human rights at Howard Kennedy, says the royal couple's international appeal will always make them targets.

Even if photos taken of them in Vancouver are not used by Canadian media, and if they manage to successfully convince British papers to not publish photos in what they deem to be private situations, there are still other countries with varying privacy laws that will allow the photographers and news outlets to profit.

Julian Assange's solicitor, Mark Stephens reads a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice after Assange, was granted bail.

"...There's a much more broad market on the global level, so you can publish those images in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India, other major Commonwealth jurisdictions where there's an interest in the family, but their privacy laws are not as robust or developed as they are in Europe or indeed in Canada.

"Until you solve the problem - the rather bellicose statements being sent by Harry and Meghan's lawyers in London to British newspapers rather exacerbated the situation yesterday.

"...What they did is draw attention to the problem, rather than dealing with the fundamental of the problem, which is suing the photographers, the freelance paparazzi in Vancouver. They tried to threaten the British newspapers.

"But that was a pointless exercise because there are papers all over the world that would be quite happy to publish them, and websites.

"As a consequence of that you haven't removed the economic incentive of the photographers to continuously take the images and sell them in places around the world, where they still can."

He said unless the economic incentive for photographers is removed, or if successful legal action is taken against photographers, "then the problem will persist because they have something that they view rightly or wrongly as a commercial product which they will sell".

Stephens said he believed the Sussexes have taken into account the Canadian media, which is "not as intrusive or celebrity focused as perhaps it is in the UK", and said domestic press there are more likely to cover them when it is legitimately in the public interest.

Making a bad situation ten times worse

"The only thing that will stop the British press running those pictures like Meghan yesterday is public opinion," Duncan says.

But even that, is not a guarantee.

"...History tells us even at the height of Princess Diana's battles with the press members of the public were happy to say 'Oh, they should leave her alone' and then go out and buy Hello magazine, and let the sales of the tabloids soar every time she was put on the front page.

File photo dated 13/02/18 of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh. The Duchess of Sussex has returned to Canada as the Queen and other senior royals took decisive action and ordered their teams to find a "workable solution" to Harry and Meghan's future roles.

"So Harry cannot rely on the decision making of the British public because they are hypocritical."

By extracting himself from past arrangements with the press - which the Sussexes feel have been to their detriment - the only action Harry can take is to "fire off legal letters and bleat about his privacy", Duncan adds.

"The danger is that by going to Canada they have made a bad situation ten times worse."

He said a system like the royal rota arrangement - which has allowed Prince William and Prince Harry to convince editors not to publish photos of their girlfriends that were obtained by paparazzi in the past - could have been used by Harry and Meghan when they arrived in Vancouver, had they stayed part of it.

That way, Harry could have accepted his arrival was newsworthy but had leverage with the press to prevent photography of the couple being an every day occurrence - and "that conversation should have been had with editors, not through lawyers".

He pointed to pictures of Kate Middleton visiting a supermarket days after her wedding to William in 2011, which were published at the time.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a visit to Ely & Caerau Children's Centre in Cardiff.

The palace was worried it would set a precedent of the Duchess of Cambridge being pictured every time she stepped out of the house, but when photographers tried to sell photos of her at a supermarket again, newspaper editors felt there was no news value in it.

He said that paparazzi photos of the royals are rejected "at least 70% of the time". When they appear in the newsroom a call is put into the palace, where a discussion takes place as to whether it is acceptable to publish it.

"I hope for his sake he is able to realise his dream of being left alone but I can't see how," Duncan said.

"If I was advising him a few months ago, when he was mooting the idea, I'd say, 'Harry, if you do that it's not going to change a thing, it just means you're going to have pine trees and a Canadian backdrop behind you rather than Windsor', tragic though that is."

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In pictures: Harry and Meghan
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will reportedly not be visiting Balmoral this year. [Photo: Getty]
The Duchess of Sussex at the European Premiere of The Lion King, Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees match in London, Britain June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Pool
The Duchess of Sussex holding her son Archie as they attend the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie as they the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire.
This official christening photograph released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Windsor Castle with with the Rose Garden in the background, near London, Britain July 6, 2019. Chris Allerton/Pool via REUTERS NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. NO MERCHANDISING, ADVERTISING, SOUVENIRS, MEMORABILIA or COLOURABLY SIMILAR. NOT FOR USE AFTER AFTER 31 DECEMBER, 2019 WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION FROM ROYAL COMMUNICATIONS. NO CROPPING. Copyright in this photograph is vested in The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. No charge should be made for the supply, release or publication of the photograph. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive presents for their son Archie as they meet players of the New York Yankees as they attend the Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game at the London Stadium in support of the Invictus Games Foundation.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive presents for their son Archie as they meet players of the Boston Red Sox as they attend the Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game at the London Stadium in support of the Invictus Games Foundation.
Après avoir quitté celle de Kate Middleton et du Prince William, Meghan Markle et le Prince Harry viennent de partager le nom de leur propre fondation. Les détails ici.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Duke of Sussex attends "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage down the Mall during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watch Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at a photocall to announce their engagement at Kensington Palace, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet well-wishers as they arrive at the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, to attend a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair on their first official engagement together.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to the Nottingham Academy in Nottingham, on their first official engagement together.
1 in series of 10. File photo dated 18/1/2018 of Prince Harry whispering to Meghan Markle as they watch a performance by a Welsh choir in the banqueting hall during a visit to Cardiff Castle.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, during their visit to Scotland.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle talk to sisters Jean Dickinson and Irene Gould on a walkabout during a visit to Millennium Point in Birmingham, as part of the latest leg in the regional tours the couple are undertaking in the run-up to their May wedding.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for a walkabout in Belfast city centre where they are visiting the Crown Liquor Saloon Bar
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a women's empowerment reception at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Australian High Commission in London to attend a reception celebrating the forthcoming Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
Prince William (left), Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during the annual Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, London, to commemorate Anzac Day.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
File photo dated 19/05/18 of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they leave at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony. Princess Eugenie will be the fifth of the Queen's eight grandchildren to wed.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get into the Ascot Landau Carriage as they leave St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss as they leave at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London during Trooping the Colour
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, in central London, following the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade as the Queen celebrates her official birthday.
Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a group photo at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive to meet youngsters from across the Commonwealth as they attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House in London.
(left to right) The Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Duchess of Sussex, Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge on the balcony at Buckingham Palace where they watched a Royal Air Force flypast over central London to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a Summer Party at the British Ambassador's residence at Glencairn House, during a visit to Dublin, Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Aras an Uachtarain on the second day of their visit to Dublin, Ireland.
Walter Kieran, 3, reaches out to touch the Duchess of Sussex's hair during her visit with the Duke of Sussex to Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting 'King George' and the cast at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London after attending a gala performance of the musical Hamilton, in support of Sentebale.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart during a visit to the University of Chichester, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, as part of their first joint official visit to Sussex.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, on day two of the royal couple's visit to Fiji.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the unveiling of a statue commemorating Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, at Nadi Airport, in Nadi, Fiji, on day three of the royal couple's visit to Fiji.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wear traditional Maori cloaks called Korowai during a visit to Te Papaiouru, Ohinemutu, in Rotorua, before a lunch in honour of Harry and Meghan, on day four of the royal couple's tour of New Zealand.
The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of Sussex arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk.
3 in series of 10. File photo 19/4/2018 of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attending a women's empowerment reception at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, following a walkabout and a visit to a new sculpture marking the 100th anniversary of war poet Wilfred Owen�s death.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving at the Endeavour Fund Awards at Draper�s Hall, London. The awards celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in sporting and adventure challenges over the last year. Picture Credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Duchess of Sussex receives a bouquet of flowers as she and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, leave Canada House in London after a Commonwealth Day youth event celebrating the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK.
(left to right) The Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex , the Duchess of Sussex and the Prince of Wales as they attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/25/19 Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are received by HM The King of Morocco in an Audience today at the Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-09/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 10/22/18 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island in Australia.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/25/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle (The Duke and Duchess of Sussex) at a cooking school demonstration in Rabat on day three of their tour of Morocco.
Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, following the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, Friday April 29, 2011. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
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