With the announcement on Saturday that Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer be working members of the Royal Family — and therefore no longer receiving money from the public purse — the couple may be looking for work when they eventually arrive in Canada.
While Meghan Markle could go back to being an actor — she recently signed a deal with Disney for voiceovers — Harry has spent time in the military, having served two tours in Afghanistan, but he hasn’t really forged a career.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has already joked if they end up in his province, “I’m sure I could find something for Harry to do.”
However, there are some restrictions, said Andrew Heard, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University whose research has specialized in Canadian constitutional issues and the Crown.
One of the main restrictions on both of them is that they cannot be in a position where there is a reasonable perception that they, or any potential employers, might be taking advantage of the royal connection, Heard said.
“Even if they step back from most formal events, they will still remain members of the Royal Family and any future careers cannot appear to trade on that prestigious connection or imply privileged access to political and business elites.”
Other royals have taken on private sector jobs, although not always with successful results. Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, launched a TV production firm in 1993 that failed in 2011 after years of mediocre performance.
His wife, Sophie, tried to keep her established public relations firm going after she married Edward in 1999, but she was embarrassed two years later by an undercover reporter pretending to be a wealthy sheikh interested in doing business with her firm. In response, she hinted that the prospective client would get greater publicity because of her royal status. The debt-ridden firm was eventually shut down.
According to Kelly Goldthorpe, a Toronto-based immigration lawyer, if Harry wants to work in Canada, he would need work authorization, and may need to utilize the CETA Free Trade Agreement to get a work permit. Another option is proving that his entry in the Canadian labour market would “have a significant cultural or economic benefit to Canada,” Goldthorpe wrote.
Assuming Harry could gain such authorization, CBC News contacted three executive recruiting firms to get their opinions on possible employment opportunities.
Randy Quarin, senior partner, IQ PARTNERS Inc.
Although Harry has limited real or Canadian business experience, Quarin said he has a number of qualities that make him an attractive candidate to employers.
“He’s smart, well-educated, street-smart and he’s athletically minded. He’s disciplined. He’s got military training. And he also has his own definition of discipline that he’s redefining for his present employer [the Crown].”
“And … he’s compassionate. He works with numerous charities. And he really seems to like and works hard for them.”
So taking all that into consideration, Quarin suggested Harry, with his military experience — he served two tours in Afghanistan — could become an ambassador for the Canadian Rangers.
Harry and his brother Prince William were made honorary members of the 5,000-member unit that’s part of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves and works in remote regions of Canada.
But Harry could also become another ambassador of sorts. While Canadian pop star Drake is known as the Toronto Raptors’ global ambassador, Harry could take on a similar role with Canada’s national rugby teams, Quarin said.
The Duke of Sussex has been involved in the sport as a patron of the U.K.-based Rugby Football League since December 2016, when he succeeded the Queen, who had held the role for 64 years.
“He could be the brand ambassador,” Quarin said. “Don’t forget, he used to play rugby in school. He could work on 100 per cent commission because [the rugby association] don’t have a lot of money,.”
Quarin’s third suggestion, he said, is a “no-brainer.” With all his charitable work, Harry could turn being a spokesman into a full-time gig.
Harry is already involved in a number of charitable pursuits, including the Invictus Games Foundation, an international sporting event for injured or wounded soliders, and and Sentebale, an African-based foundation to help vulnerable children.
“The hard one about that is pick the one that is really near and dear to him.”
Sheila Musgrove, founder, CEO of TAG Recruitment
Musgrove described Harry as a solid communicator, personable and likable, with good people skills that translate into a number of disciplines.
She, too, said he could lead any charity in the country
With his military experience, and his involvement working with injured soldiers, he could play the the same role in Canada, working with the Canadian military, helping veterans.
But there are other potential ways he could leverage his military skills, she said. In 2012, Harry qualified as an Apache attack helicopter pilot, graduating as the best co-pilot gunner in his class after 18 months of training. Musgrove said she could see Harry working as an air ambulance pilot.
(After his military stint, Harry’s brother, William, worked as an air ambulance pilot before focusing full-time on his royal duties.)
“What a great story that would be.You’re injured. You fall down and then you get rescued by a prince,” Musgrove said.
Or, for something a little different, why not train to fly commercial airlines?
“If John Travolta can fly for Qantas, the prince can fly me from Calgary to Toronto,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove also said Harry could get involved in Canadian rugby, leading the Canadian rugby organization to elevate the level of sport in the country.
And if Harry and Meghan settle in the West, a perfect gig for him, said Musgrove, would be ski instructor or a lift operator “if he wants to be among the people.”
Michael French, regional manager, Robert Half
Harry’s upbringing has groomed him for some sort of leadership role, French said. And his military experience means he comes with a lot of “fantastic skills.”
“The ability to get things done. Tremendous perseverance. A lot of integrity,” French said.
He said he could certainly see Harry headlining a global initiative, or landing at several “very small but very deserving organizations.”
“They may not be big companies, but they may be some not-for-profits that need an elevation. I think he’s going to follow his heart,” French said. “I think he’s going to be really focusing on organizations that are doing great work that are probably underfunded, underserviced that are making a change.”
But Harry could also hit the speaking circuit, French said.
“He will be a very hot, in-demand speaker and he’s an excellent speaker, he said. “I can see him being very selective of who he speaks for. I can’t see him speaking at an Apple or Microsoft event.”
French said their firm always advises companies to hire “for fit, not for skill,” meaning they seek those who possess leadership qualities and can be trained for the missing skills.
Companies are full of people who can tick all the task boxes, French said.
“What they’re looking for is someone who can lead them and be the front, I think [Harry’s] got a lot of that.”