The owner of Deep Cove Market in North Saanich has put up this sign after members of the media had inundated the store, hoping to speak to locals about Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, who recently moved to the area after stepping back as senior members of the British Royal Family (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

North Saanich store declares itself media free zone to discourage paparazzi

Store owner Rosemary Scott says Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle deserve privacy

A small sign declaring a popular North Saanich business and community meeting spot a media free zone is working, says its owner.

“We have hardly seen any press now,” said Rosemary Scott, owner of Deep Cove Market. “I think they have really backed off.”

The store located at corner of West Saanich Road and Birch Road near North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary has served as a familiar and comfortable gathering spot for locals for years, but has also witnessed a wave of foreign media members, who want to speak to locals about Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

The couple, along with their son Archie, recently moved to the area as part of their decision to step back as senior members of the British Royal Family after having spent their Christmas vacation here.

Scott said she put up the sign reading ‘press free zone’ on the store’s entrance after interest from the foreign media had “gotten out of hand.”

She said members of the British media were the first to visit the store.

“They were very nice, obviously wanting to speak to the staff,” said Scott. “However, we were then inundated.”

Media members from the around the world including Italy, Japan and the United States were soon descending upon the store to the point where some started to set up cameras outside the store, blocking its parking lot and bothering customers. Scott has also received phone calls from various media.

RELATED: Local Monarchist says Saanich Peninsula would be a ‘great place’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

RELATED: Prince Harry: ‘Powerful media’ is why he’s stepping away

“Honestly, I’m done [with foreign media],” she said, her voice clearly ringing with frustration.

Everybody in the community knows where the royal couple currently lives, she said. But if the couple were to become members of the community, locals would like to give them their space and freedom.

“We are really trying to give them their space and their privacy, and I am just really tired of having the press here,” said Scott.

Not surprisingly, so are the Royals themselves, having threatened to take legal actions against photographers, who snapped pictures of Markle earlier this month, while walking through Horth Hill Park with the couple’s son, Archie.

Scott more than understands this desire for privacy. “Harry lost his mom to the paparazzi,” she said. “So I think he wants to protect his wife and child and have some freedom and that is part of the reason why [they are] moving to Canada, to get away from that. We really just want to give them their space.”

Scott said she believes the community shares her sentiments.

“All the customers I have spoken to are hoping that people can give them their space and be welcoming,” she said. “I don’t think Meghan and Harry don’t want to talk to the public. I think they do. They just don’t want to be harassed by the press. They want to be able to go out and be part of the community and be safe.”

Scott is not the only resident trying to discourage photographers. She said one of her customers has formed a Facebook group, where users can identify locations of paparazzi, when they spot them. “That way [the couple’s] security team knows where they are,” she said.

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