The cost of protecting Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and 8-month-old Archie isn't cheap – and it's an issue that's proving a huge sticking point in the couple's departure from royal duties.

Overnight, the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Harry gathered at Sandringham for a historic summit to hammer out the details of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's stunning departure from their senior roles as members of the royal family to a largely private life in Canada and Britain.

According to News.com.au, a number of items were on the agenda – including how Harry and Meghan would extricate themselves from public funding in order to be "financially independent", but it's been widely reported that the couple is requesting taxpayers continue to foot their estimated $1.89 million annual security bill.

In the past, it's been covered as compensation for fulfilling their duties as "senior" royals, but given their unprecedented proposal to effectively work only part-time, their protection entitlements have come into question.

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According to The Evening Standard, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered to pick up around half of the annual security cost for the family.

He "agreed taxpayers in his country should pick up the huge bill for the couple's around-the-clock protection" while they are in the country.

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"Trudeau has privately assured the Queen that Harry, Meghan and Archie's safety will not be jeopardised while they reside there," the publication reports.

However, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau has since hosed down the report.

"No, we haven't spent any time thinking about this issue," he told CBC reporters.

"We obviously are always looking to make sure, as a member of the Commonwealth, we play a role. We have not had any discussions on that subject at this time."

Last week, Harry and Meghan launched their own personal website and outlined their proposal for future funding at the same time as they dropped the bombshell news that they would "step back" from the royal frontline.

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However, as SussexRoyal.com hadn't actually been approved by the Queen at the time, it was just that – a proposal.

Reports suggest the Canadian Prime Minister would gladly front the bill. Photo / Getty Images
Reports suggest the Canadian Prime Minister would gladly front the bill. Photo / Getty Images

The paragraph on their website read: "The provision of armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the Home Office, a ministerial department of Her Majesty's Government, responsible for security and law & order. As stated on gov.uk, 'No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected. It is long established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences'."

According to the UK's Telegraph, another option being discussed is the idea of scaling back the number of their taxpayer-funded protection officers and topping up the security team with private bodyguards, paid for by Harry and Meghan.

But the costs of taking care of Harry, Meghan and their baby son outside of established royal residences in Britain will likely skyrocket – and was therefore a major feature of the conversations during the emergency summit.

Last week, Harry and Meghan returned to London and visited Canada House to thank them for their hospitality during a six-week break over Christmas when the couple stayed in Vancouver.

Three days later, Meghan returned to Canada where she had left their eight-month-old son, Archie, with his nanny. The couple have also reportedly taken their two dogs to Canada.

While they appear to be moving full-steam ahead with their relocation plans, in a statement released after the summit, the Queen cautioned that there was still "more work to be done".

"These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done," she wrote.

However, the blueprint for the Sussexes "progressive" new future is likely to be public knowledge soon – with the monarch also revealing that she has requested "final decisions to be reached in the coming days".