It's an enormous property worth $20 million and for six weeks before Christmas, it was a sanctuary for Prince Harry, Meghan and their nine-month-old son Archie.

They hiked, according to reports, and jogged, enjoying the privacy of the small Pacific enclave. Then, the news broke about where they were and the press arrived outside and that's where they remain.

While photos show a plastic sheet preventing anyone getting a peek inside the grounds of the property, the tension between the Sussexes and the growing media pack just outside their gates looks set to only intensify.


Overnight, Harry and Meghan called in the lawyers, after photos of Meghan with baby Archie and her dogs were splashed across newspapers in the UK. A firm acting for the couple sent out a letter alleging that the shots had been taken by paparazzi "hiding in the bushes and spying".

In an impassioned speech on Sunday night, Harry said that he was now hoping for a more "peaceful" life.

However, according to a celebrity photographer who has spent weeks on Vancouver Island that wish is unlikely to come true. He says that "the appetite for photos of them is not going to end" and that a shot of the trio could be worth up to $1 million.

Giles Harrison, of London Entertainment Group, has spent two weeks on the island, including photographing Meghan when she departed by seaplane for a day trip to nearby Vancouver last week. He says there is no chance the frenzy around them will die down.

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"They are one of those celebs that no matter what, no matter what they do you're going to make money off of it," Harrison, who has 25 years experience as a celebrity snapper, tells "There were people that all they did was follow his mother around and they made a fortune."

However he paints a far more complicated portrait of the royals renegades' relationship with the paparazzi rather than simply that of the hunter and the hunted.

"I feel strongly that to a certain degree, they've been at this game long enough to know exactly what would happen (when they quit the royal family and came to Canada)," he says. "I truly think Meghan Markle knew what was going to happen. And I think, all it does is to help, at least from her perspective, her brand and helps push her cause. And it helps make her famous.


"She could've lived a quiet life, opening shops and gladhanding old ladies at hospital (as a member of the royal family) and they would have been able to have a tighter control on the press and the press coverage than they do now."

There is no getting from the uncomfortable fact that despite having stepped back from frontline royal duties (partially, according to the couple, due to the media's treatment of them) they have ironically and tragically actually opened the floodgates.

Adding fuel to this fire is the huge sums of money involved.

Harrison says that shots of Meghan could end up earning a photographer $200,000 in total, once they were sold to a variety of outlets. However, a shot of the Sussex trio, especially one in which you could see Archie's face, could ultimately represent a seven-figure payday for a snapper.

While there is a prevailing impression that photographers have been dogging the family's every move, Harrison says the situation is more civilised.

"Everybody there (on behalf of a paper) is on strict orders not to follow them," he says. "And everybody's been 100 per cent respectful of that. You watch them come out of the driveway and (the thinking is), 'Let's give them a bunch of leeway.' You don't have to follow the car."


Chance and guesswork are the secret to the paparazzi images that have been coming out of the island, he says.

"Nine times out of 10 you'd probably be wrong," he says. "Somewhere along that, in that 10 times you're going to be, you're going to bump into them."

Meghan and Harry lived a life largely protected from the paparazzi in the UK, but no such rules exist in North America. Photo / AP
Meghan and Harry lived a life largely protected from the paparazzi in the UK, but no such rules exist in North America. Photo / AP

Of the images of a smiling Meghan walking towards a seaplane that went global last week, Harrison believes that the Duchess, at some stage would have had an "inkling" that she was in the photographers' sights that day.

"They may not have known anybody followed them, but certainly at some point they would have had to have known," he says. "If you can get a photograph of her and she doesn't know it, then her security isn't doing a very good job."

While Harrison is now temporarily back in Los Angeles, he likewise argues that Meghan would most likely have been aware that she was being shot as she neared the exit of a local hiking trail after taking a walk with Archie, dogs Oz and Guy, and two of her security team. "I think they would have known," he says. "If you notice, she's smiling and the bodyguards are behind her, so it's not like she's talking to the bodyguards and smiling.

"The bodyguards just would've walked in front of her (if she didn't want to be photographed). They wouldn't have been able to get a clear shot."


He also points out that the Duchess is known to have spent time on that particular trail before and that the car she and her bodyguards were travelling in was parked in a visible place.

"I don't think those (paparazzi) were hiding that much. I mean, they may have kept their distance but like I said, it was a straight shot for her to walk from there to the car."

The (UK) Telegraph reports that "Sources close to the celebrity picture agencies … insist that the Duchesses' bodyguards were aware the latest pictures were being taken in a public place".

While Harry and Meghan have yet to indicate which North American city they plan to set up a second home, Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles have all been mooted. Harrison is adamant that the media focus on them will not let up and that they both would have expected this press storm to follow them when they left the UK.

"They know how big a news story they are," he says. "They know how big of a news story it is, and they know how big of a news story it is going to constantly be.

"It's not going to end just because you left England. And it's not going to end because you sent a lawyers letter."


Life in Meghan's native LA could be even worse. Says Harrison: "If they come to the US, the tabloids are going to have a field day."

Is there any scenario in which they could find a quiet life, I ask Harrison.

Adamantly he replies: "Zero."