The duke and duchess ... of Saanich? Britain's loss could be B.C.'s gain

A Vancouver Island mayor says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose the perfect place to rest and relax during the holidays and now locals are speculating whether the pair plan to make a permanent move.

The couple announced soon after their holiday they plan to step back as senior members of the Royal Family and balance their time between the U.K. and North America.

Now social media is buzzing with rumours about where the royals will relocate to this side of the pond, and after vacationing on the southern end of Vancouver Island, people are wondering if Saanich could be the spot.

North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr says privacy is one of the hallmarks of the district and he likes to think the majestic beaches and forests he visited as a child played a part in the couple's decision to spend time there.

The duke and duchess of Sussex reportedly spent the holidays at a secluded beachfront villa in North Saanich, but that didn't stop them from getting out and exploring the community, as they were spotted by locals hiking and checking out markets.

Orr says he's pleased community residents gave the royals the privacy they desire, and he wants them to know they are welcome now that the couple say they will spend more time in North America.

Bruce Hallsor, past chair of the Victoria Branch of the Monarchist League of Canada, echoed Orr's sentiment, saying Island locals are known for not harassing celebrities and Vancouver Island would be a good fit.

"Most of us know people who came out here and had a holiday and went home and quickly decided that this is where they wanted to live, so I'd like to think this is what happened in this case," said Hallsor.

Meghan, who is American and was born on the west coast in California, has returned to Canada, where the former actress has long-standing ties after living in Toronto while filming the TV show Suits.

"Meg is American and he is British, but Canadians feel like we have a bit of a bond with both countries," said Hallsor, adding Canada could be "a happy middle for them."

Victoria resident Asymina Kantorowicz says the duke and duchess have already proved to be good neighbours, volunteering to snap selfies of her and her boyfriend on a New Year's Day hike in North Saanich.

Of course, where the couple will decide to set up home is pure speculation at this point, but as Hallsor says, they did seem to have a lovely time living the island life.