LONDON — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had left the United Kingdom for Canada less than two days after she and Prince Harry made the shocking announcement that they would “step back” from their roles as senior members of the royal family, NBC News confirmed Friday.
The two had been in Canada — where Meghan lived for seven years while she starred in the television legal drama “Suits” — over Christmas. According to multiple reports, the couple's son, Archie, is still there.
NBC News has also confirmed that Harry has stayed in the U.K. to host the draw for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 next Thursday from Buckingham Palace, in what will likely be his first major public appearance since the furor began.
On Wednesday in the bombshell announcement, Harry and Meghan said that they planned to split their time between the U.K. and North America, while "continuing to honor our duty to the queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," according to a post on their new website.
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They say they would like to keep their recently refurbished home in Windsor, and their royal protection and security, but plan to take a new approach to the British press after scathing coverage of the couple — Meghan, in particular.
The couple’s decision to have a more independent life has been dubbed #Megxit, provoking vitriol from British tabloids, royalists and pundits.
Commentary in The Daily Mail — which traditionally supports the monarchy — and other mass market tabloids has been scathing.
"It's almost as if nothing matters to this couple apart from their own immediate happiness and gratification, as though they are incapable of seeing beyond their own little bubble of privilege," one columnist wrote.
In The Sun, Hugo Vickers wrote that it was "impossible not to think" that Harry "has been influenced by his wife with her Californian ideas."
In October, the couple filed suit against the parent company of the Mail on Sunday after the tabloid published a private letter written by Meghan earlier this year.
During the legal battle with the Mail, Harry released a scathing statement accusing the tabloid press of a "ruthless campaign" against his wife.
He wrote on the couple’s website: “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Harry's mother, Princess Diana, died in a car accident while trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris in 1997.
In a 2019 documentary, “Harry and Meghan: An African Journey,” Meghan said of the difficult media attention, “"I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair."
On Wednesday, the couple said they would take control of the relationship with the media by releasing information from their own social media channels, as well as “engage with grassroots media organizations.”