Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face a long list of “perils” in Canada, including “psychopathic bears,” “vampire flies,” “jagged cliffs” and “frigid” temperatures, according to a column published in a U.K. tabloid by a former editor of the Globe and Mail.
The Daily Mail story by British journalist Richard Addis has riled up some Canadians amid confusion over whether the piece is satirical, ignorant or a bit of both. The web headline on the story reads: “Bears and vampire flies are perils Harry and Meghan will face.”
Addis, who served as the Globe and Mail’s editor from 1999 to 2002, frequently cites his own experience with Canada in offering a supposed glimpse of what the royals can expect from the country.
“It is stunningly beautiful. Everything works. Crime is relatively non-existent. And it only pretends to be boring in order to keep Americans out,” Addis writes, before delving into his grievances with the country.
“The animals are psychopaths,” he writes, adding that even the heaviest creatures “can move faster than the most fleet of foot among us.”
Addis goes on to describe the mauling death of Mary Beth Miller, a 24-year-old biathlete who was attacked by a bear outside a training centre near Quebec City in 2000. Addis was working at the Globe and Mail when it reported on her death in detail.
“Even she couldn’t run fast enough,” Addis writes in his Daily Mail story published on Friday.
Addis goes on to complain about the blackflies in over-the-top language.
“There are 165 species of blackfly in Canada and from May to July they turn the countryside into the lowest circle of hell,” he writes. “The blackfly has razor-sharp jaws which puncture the skin. Blood streams out.”
Addis also complains about the winter and claims that one wouldn’t “dare go skiing at Mont-Tremblant near Montreal without a liberal covering of frostbite cream.”
The British journalist peppers his story with anecdotes about sawing through lake ice to get water, doing a “J-stroke” with a canoe and riding in a small plane through the “Northern Territories” alongside Margaret Atwood.
He also claims Canadians’ stomachs have a “characteristic bulge” from all the poutine they eat and writes at length about how to supposedly use the cliched word “eh.”
“Much of Canadian conversation consists of flat statements with an ‘eh’ at the end, as in: ‘You’re coming to the ice hockey match, eh.’ You have to treat it as a question.”
He wraps up the piece by wishing “happy landings” to the Sussexes.
“Whatever the drawbacks, I’m sure you won’t regret it.”
The piece is one of several Daily Mail stories scrutinizing or outright criticizing Markle and Harry for their departure. They’ve fixated on everything from Markle’s coat to Harry’s hairline in the wake of their move to Canada.
A few Twitter users compared the Daily Mail story to another controversial take on Canada from the New York Times last week. The outlet ran a story that suggested Harry and Markle would inject “some razzle dazzle” into the “sprawling, bone-chillingly cold” Canada.
Prince Harry and Markle have spoken openly about their disdain for the United Kingdom’s relentless tabloid media scrutiny.
The couple announced earlier this month that they would “step back” from their senior royal duties and pursue a path toward financial independence. They also declared they would drop out of the “royal rota” system that grants media access to a wide range of U.K. outlets, including the tabloids that have been fiercely critical of them.
They say in the future, they will focus on engaging with “grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists.”