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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Canada House in London, January 7, 2020 Image Credit: Reuters

Meghan, Harry. I hear you’re ditching your royal titles and moving to Canada. And why not? You met there, the summers are lovely, and the country is not actively crowdsourcing “bong money” to make sure a big bell goes off at the precise moment it throws itself into international disarray.

Plus, there is the matter of your family’s long-standing history and a swathe of British citizens and newspapers who, for reasons that couldn’t possibly be racism, have harangued, harassed and libelled you both into the ground. This, combined with how good I know you both look in winter hats, makes me think it will be a very fruitful move indeed.

As my own family’s problematically ginger second-born and someone who fled Canada for England, I’ve recently completed something of a reverse-Harry and am therefore in a perfect position to dispense some classic, North American-style unsolicited advice. So here’s what you can expect from your new life post-Megxit, plus some insider tips for making the most of your new life abroad.

Next: It’s a stereotype, but apologising is a big part of Canadian culture. As a British person, Harry should have mastered this already, but for Meghan’s sake — and in case Harry’s privileges — consider practicing such classic apologies as “sorry just getting this text”

- Monica Heisey

First, Canadians. Our national personality exists somewhere between America and Britain on the earnestness-stoicism index. In fact, we’re a bit of a mix of both cultures. Like Americans, we’re unafraid to express a little (or a lot) of emotion when confronted with a bad hockey team or the weather in February, but as with the English, our self-effacing comments are merely a front for an unshakeable belief in the ultimate superiority of our way of life.

Already spiritually Canadian

The two of you represent a conundrum for the average Canadian as we are unkind to tall poppies but desperate for attention from international celebrities of any kind. I wouldn’t worry too much about fitting in — by questioning the point of your relationship with the monarchy, you’ve already been spiritually Canadian for months.

Next: It’s a stereotype, but apologising is a big part of Canadian culture. As a British person, Harry should have mastered this already, but for Meghan’s sake — and in case Harry’s privileges  — consider practicing such classic apologies as “sorry just getting this text”.

When those feel comfortable you can work up to more personally applicable examples, like “sorry your taxes pay for our security detail..” Some other Canadian titbits: The winters can be truly punishing, poutine is actually very good, knit hats are known as “toques”, and thousands of Indigenous people have been without clean water for decades.

Unfortunately, though Canada has much to recommend it, you may find some of Britain’s least pleasant traits thrive there as well. For instance: While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did cancel racism by bravely wearing multicultural statement socks to a parade in 2017, he recently found cancelled, and racism very much “back on” after doing full-on blackface somewhere between three and “I couldn’t possibly guess how many” times.

Still, it will be a comfort, I’m sure, after your terrible treatment at the hands of the British media to know that because of lay-offs, closures, and slashed budgets, an independent Canadian press will probably only exist for another 10 years, tops. Now, to friends: I understand that Meghan already has a local bestie in the form of the shoe store heiress and celebrity wedding officiant Jessica Mulroney.

Canadian celebrities

Harry, on the other hand, will need a high-profile new pal, and where better to look than the vast, confusing world of Canadian celebrities. He’d look great beside one of our handsome Ryans (Gosling or Reynolds); a friendship with Mike Myers could be very “groovy, baby” indeed; Elon Musk and Grimes, two deeply cursed Canadians, will be parents soon Might Archie enjoy a play date with little Quant? Celine Dion is unfortunately on tour, though Drake comes home often, and Rachel McAdams lives up north, too.

Failing these, my mother lives on a street where ‘Suits’ used to film, which, as far as I can tell from her stories about it, puts her rank on set somewhere near or above executive producer. She’s thrilled you’re coming to Canada and would be more than happy to babysit what I’m saying is, you’ve got options.

I think you’re ready. All that’s left is to purchase a cruelty-free puffer jacket and start pretending you like tourtiere. Ultimately, it’s not so different over there. Just remember: Crisps are “chips,” chips are “fries,” and our shared legacy of colonialism is “something we largely refuse to discuss.”

(Harry’s gran is still on all the money. You’ll be fine.)

— New York Times News Service

Monica Heisey is writer and performer from Toronto, Canada.

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