Meghan Markle flies back to Canada amid royal crisis talks

10 January 2020, 11:40 | Updated: 10 January 2020, 14:03

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry said they want to 'step back' as senior royals
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry said they want to 'step back' as senior royals. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

The Duchess of Sussex has returned to Canada where she left baby Archie with his nanny, after she and Prince Harry made the bombshell announcement that they plan to ‘step back’ as senior royals.

After spending just a few days in the UK following an extended break in Canada, Meghan was confirmed to have returned there to be with her son Archie, possibly for the foreseeable future.

A spokeswoman for the duchess said this morning: "I can confirm she is in Canada."

Harry is not expected to be seen in public again until next Thursday, when he will do the draw for the Rugby League World Cup in 2021. However according to reports Harry may have followed Meghan back to Canada late last night, ahead of the engagement.

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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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The development comes after the Queen demanded a ‘workable solution’ to the crisis must be put in place within days. Aides have been tasked with presenting a series of options to Meghan and Harry.

A Buckingham Palace source said the senior royals have asked aides to work "at pace" with governments and The Sussex Household and an outcome was expected to take "days, not weeks".

It comes after Harry and Meghan released a bombshell statement on Wednesday saying they would be "stepping back" as senior royals.

The Queen and other members of the family were said to be left "hurt" by Harry and Meghan's decision to issue a personal statement, which outlined their future lives as financially independent royals who will divide their time between the UK and North America.

The royal family will talk to multiple governments, which suggests US and Canadian officials may be involved.

Given the Queen's timetable of "days" it is likely they will want any talks concluded before the Prince of Wales travels to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the end of the month, to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

It appears the head of state tried to forestall any announcements after her grandson asked to meet at her private Sandringham estate, the Evening Standard newspaper reported, only to be "ignored" by the couple.

The latest developments reveal the divisions within the heart of the British monarchy which has already been rocked by the Duke of York's disastrous television interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Harry and Meghan went ahead and released their personal statement on Wednesday evening which was a "bolt from the blue" for Buckingham Palace.

The Duke and Duchess, who have only recently returned from a six-week stay in Canada with eight-month-old son Archie, said in their statement: "After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.

"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen."

Meghan received a public boost from her close friend Jessica Mulroney, a Canadian stylist and TV star, who posted a quote attributed to Gina Carey, which said: "A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink."

A series of commentators have strongly criticised their decision with public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski saying about the Sussexes "It does feel like a royal couple in exile".

It is already known the Queen, Prince of Wales and other senior royals were not consulted about the content of the couple's statement or knew it was to be issued.

But the Standard said Charles and the Duke of Cambridge only received it 10 minutes before it was released.

Over the festive period the newspaper stated Charles told his son to come up with a thought out plan for his wish to spend more time in Canada and America, and when he put forward a draft proposal was told time was needed to consider its implications, particularly funding.

The Queen agreed to Harry's request to meet when he returned from Canada but the duke was told his grandmother would not discuss his proposals before he had talked them through with his father.

Despite the request not to make any announcements the Sussexes published their statement.

Buckingham Palace would not comment on the latest developments in the Harry and Meghan royal crisis.

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