Prince Harry has left the UK to reunite with his wife Meghan Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie in Canada where the family will start a new life after the couple’s bombshell announcement to "step back" from Britain’s royal frontline and spend more time in North America. The Duke of Sussex is understood to have left the UK for Canada on Monday evening following one of his final official engagements as a working royal, The Telegraph reported.
Harry, 35, was said to be desperate to be reunited with Archie, whom he had not seen for two weeks, and his 38-year-old American actress wife in Canada that the young family plans to make their home. Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson was whisked to Heathrow following a morning of bilateral meetings with African leaders at the first UK-Africa Investment Summit in Greenwich, south London. His flight to Vancour Island via Montreal was delayed by 20 minutes as he checked in through the Windsor suite, the report said.
Harry left the UK after meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson and world leaders at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, which is likely to be one of his few remaining official engagements before the Sussexes take a "leap of faith" and leave the monarchy in the spring, the Mirror said in a report. Buckingham Palace, however, has refused to confirm the Duke had fled the UK, saying: "We don’t comment or guide on private schedule".
Prince Harry gave an emotional speech on Sunday night, saying he had "no other option" but to give up his official royal duties and forge a new life in Canada, even as he expressed "great sadness" after being stripped of their royal titles. In his first statement after a formal split from the royal family was finalised by the 93-year-old Queen over the weekend, Harry said when he married Meghan, they were "excited" and "hopeful".
"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly," the Prince said in a speech at a dinner event for charity Sentebale, co-founded by him in 2006 to support those affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana in southern Africa. "It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always got it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you," he said.
The speech came a day after the Buckingham Palace announced that the couple will be forsaking their His and Her Royal Highness titles and no longer receive any share of the Sovereign Grant, or the UK taxpayer funding allocated to senior royals. It followed weeks of talks after Harry and Meghan announced their plans earlier this month to "step back" from Britain’s royal frontline and spend more time in North America.
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is already in Vancouver Island in Canada with Archie. Meanwhile, Harry will continue with his pending royal duties in the UK until the new agreement struck with the palace kicks in from spring towards the end of March and the couple begin their new financially independent roles. The couple intend to repay 2.4 million pounds of UK taxpayers’ money for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home as they split their time between Britain and Canada.
The palace has declined to comment on security arrangements and who would foot that bill for the couple in future, an issue that has been at the centre of much of the debate since they announced their decision to step back as senior royals earlier this month. Harry and Meghan have issued their own update on their official Sussex Royal website, which has been updated to remove references to the HRH titles on the opening page.