The Duke of Sussex today began his new life in Canada with Meghan Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie away from the Royal Family, after arriving in the country on a British Airways flight last night.
Prince Harry travelled from London Heathrow to Vancouver on a BA plane, hours after completing his final engagement as a fully-fledged royal at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in Greenwich, South East London.
He arrived at Vancouver International Airport last night following a ten-hour journey on a Boeing 747, then boarded a WestJet plane to make the short journey onto Victoria Airport on Vancouver Island to join the rest of his family.
While he flew, he missed his brother William’s first solo reception at Buckingham Palace where he ushered in a new era for the royals – and even gave Harry a mention in his welcoming speech, saying: ‘The African continent holds a very special place in my heart. It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died.’
That followed Harry’s emotional speech in London’s Chelsea on Sunday night, saying he had ‘no other option’ but to give up his official royal duties and forge a new life in Canada, where his wife and son are setting up home.
Meanwhile it was claimed that Harry was given no choice but to agree the deal which allowed him to step down, with the Queen saying his decision must not overshadow other royals’ high-profile engagements this week.
A palace source told the Daily Mirror: ‘It was made abundantly clear to Harry: agree to this and then you can go. By his own admission it was not under the terms he wanted but he had no other option.
‘There was no halfway house, no half in- half-out arrangement, and this was the only one on the table. Meghan and Harry were so desperate to get out they had no choice – and, on the face of it, it looks like they have given up a considerable amount.’
Last night, Harry landed at Vancouver Airport on BA85. He was seen leaving the plane by the back staircase wearing a blue beanie and jeans with a backpack over his shoulders, with two security guards escorting him.
He was then whisked away in a black minivan to continue his journey with a 25-minute hop over to Victoria. He flew via WestJet, the same carrier that Meghan is said to have taken, landing at Victoria around 9.45pm local time.
Officials at the airport closed the third-floor public viewing area shortly before he landed. The duke was then driven the last couple of miles in a silver SUV to the £11million oceanside home for an emotional family reunion.
The Sussexes have called the mansion home for the past two months. The transatlantic flight – which arrived six minutes late – was Harry’s goodbye to the royal life that he has lived since his birth.
Now he will no longer use his courtesy HRH title – although the Queen did not formally strip it. He will be known simply as the Duke of Sussex.
Harry’s last act as a fully-fledged royal was to attend the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London yesterday afternoon, where he held a 20-minute meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He also had a private bilateral meeting with Moroccan Prime Mininster Saad-Eddine El Othmani, Malawian President Peter Mutharika, and Filipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique, at the request of the Government.
But he pointedly did not hang around in London to go to the reception hosted by William. It was a stepping stone for William in the long preparation for him becoming king and showcased the Royal Family’s new order post-Harry.
Harry was at a formal private dinner at the Ivy in Chelsea for Sentebale, the charity supporting young people affect by HIV and Aids that he founded in 2006, when he effectively made a leaving speech on Sunday night.
He told invited guests: ‘What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.’
The Sussexes wanted to remain as working royals, but not prominent members, and drop their public funding so they could become financially independent – a dual role many commentators said was fraught with problems.
Critics have accused the couple of turning their backs on the monarchy to enjoy the freedom of being able to take on commercial ventures.
Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and the man who, alongside the Queen, approved Meghan’s coat of arms as Duchess of Sussex, said a halfway house arrangement is ‘unsatisfactory’.
Giving his personal opinion, he told the Times: ‘I don’t think it’s satisfactory. One cannot be two things at once. You either are (royal) or you’re not.’
Meanwhile, Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, wrote in the Telegraph that Harry was ‘devoted to the Armed Forces’ and described his stepping down from military roles as ‘a terrible shame’.
He said: ‘One of the most privileged men in the land, there were many people who did not want him to put his life on the line in the battle zone of Afghanistan where so many British troops were killed and maimed.
‘Unlike most soldiers, he had to personally fight the system to get himself into action. But in the face of opposition from a government worried by the risk to national prestige if he was killed, wounded or captured, he eventually arrived in Afghanistan ‘with butterflies in my stomach’.’
Colonel Kemp added: ‘Soldiers who served alongside him during his two tours in Afghanistan, on the ground and in the air, have spoken of Harry’s leadership and courage, of his down-to earth approach to ordinary soldiers and of his devotion to his comrades in arms.’
Harry’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, continues with a busy schedule of royal duties, a day after delivering a speech at a Buckingham Palace reception for summit delegates.
Today, William will attend a meeting of the United for Wildlife Taskforce at St James’s Palace. The duke, who is president of United for Wildlife, will make a speech during the session.
He is also due to hold audiences as part of the summit at St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace.
Meanwhile, Meghan smiled yesterday as she was photographed going for an early-morning hike carrying Archie in a baby carrier on her chest while holding on to her two dogs, black labrador Oz and beagle Guy on leashes.
She betrayed none of the anxiety of the tumultuous past two weeks, wrapping up in layers under an olive green beanie hat, wearing black leggings and her favourite Kamick ankle-high brown hiking boots.
Archie was dressed in a white onesie and bootees. Two Royal Protection Officers strolled behind her at a discreet distance as she strolled in Horth Hill Regional Park, enjoying the warmest morning for days.
During her stay without Harry it has been freezing, raining or snowing for most of the time.
At William’s summit reception, he was supported by his wife Kate, Prince Edward, his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Princess Anne as they welcomed 21 African delegations to the Queen’s London home.
The Queen and Prince Charles were not in attendance at the reception to mark the UK-Africa Investment Summit. Despite the drama of the past fortnight, William and Kate were all smiles as they received a line of visiting Heads of State and their partners in the Music Room.
The Duchess of Cambridge put on a dazzling display as she joined her husband at the event on Monday evening, looking resplendent in a glittering £410 red gown from high end high-street store Needle & Thread for the evening reception – a brand also loved by Princess Beatrice.
The Countess of Wessex, who was celebrating her 55th birthday Monday, looked elegant in a red as she joined her husband Prince Edward, 55, at the summit reception.
Mr Johnson also attended, along with African heads of state, such as President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, the Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In a warm and personal speech, William welcomed the heads of state or ministers from 21 African nations, telling them: ‘My grandmother is sorry not to be here this evening, but she has asked me to pass on her warmest wishes to you all.’
In his speech Prince William added that Africa ‘holds a very special place in my heart’ and also mentioned his brother.
He said: ‘It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died. And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee.
‘Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to spend time in many other parts of Africa. I’m also honoured to be the Patron of the Royal African Society.
‘And as Catherine and I have said to several of you here tonight, we hope to have the chance to visit many more countries in the future and share our mutual love of your continent with our children.’
It was the Cambridges’ first public appearance since a deal was announced by Buckingham Palace on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s future plans.
And it came a day after Harry’s own moving and deeply personal comments on their decision to step back as working royals. Harry told an event Sentebale he had ‘no other option’ but to quit his role.
Yesterday, it was claimed the Queen and Prince Charles decided not to strip Prince Harry of their HRH titles and Duke and Duchess of Sussex rank to avoid looking ‘petty’.
Her Majesty is said to have considered stripping the couple of their most prized titles and instead referring to them as the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton – putting them at the same level as Edward and Sophie, Earl and Countess of Wessex.
However, the Queen and Prince Charles are believed to have felt preventing the couple from using ‘HRH’ in public and for commercial use – while still officially retaining the title – was a sufficient enough change.
A source told the Evening Standard : ‘The Sussex title is one of the ancient royal dukedoms given to him ahead of his wedding to Meghan, along with other titles. Removing it was seriously considered and discussed at the highest level.’
Harry had agreed to attend Monday’s summit before the Sussexes sensationally quit 11 days ago, and prior to quitting, he would almost certainly have been there to support his older sibling, who for the first time was asked by the Queen to host a major state occasion.
During a group photograph with the heads of state and government in the Throne Room, Mr Johnson joked ‘Say Brexit’ as the photographer counted them down.
The royals then joined a reception with the leaders in the Green Drawing Room before joining other guests in the Picture Gallery, where the Duke of Cambridge gave his speech.
Guests included UK government members, UK and African business figures and representatives from key multilateral agencies.
Meanwhile William held meetings at Buckingham Palace with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Adda and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.
And it emerged that the Prince of Wales had hosted Nigeria’s President Mohammaddu Buhari at Dumfries House in Scotland on Sunday.
The day-long summit was held to highlight the strength of the relationship between the UK and African nations, promoting the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across the continent and to show the UK’s commitment to supporting economic development in Africa, including through the creation of new jobs and partnerships.
After Harry flew out yesterday, it is not known when he will next return to the UK but a Sussex source told MailOnline there is ‘more to come’ in Britain for the prince before the spring.
Meanwhile, during a visit to Prospect House in Wroughton, Wiltshire, the Duchess of Cornwall broke her silence on Harry and Meghan stepping down as royals, saying the couple would be missed.
Camilla, 72, was asked for her thoughts on Mexit as she helped to celebrate the hospice’s 40th anniversary year.
While meeting staff, the wife of Prince Charles was asked by a reporter: ‘Will you miss Harry and Meghan?’. Camilla smiled and replied: ‘Of course’.
As Harry jetted out of London for Canada, Harry defiantly backed an Army charity amid claims he is grieving after the Queen and Prince Charles’ insisted he is stripped of his official military roles for quitting.
He used the Sussex Royal Instagram account to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Walking With The Wounded charity and shared a series of photographs of him supporting them around the world.
Harry must step away from his three official military roles but has vowed to always maintain his links with his fellow soldiers and praised ‘the resilience and strength’ of those ‘injured in service to their country’.
The emotive Instagram post said: ‘The Duke has worked hard to raise awareness over the years, including an expedition to the North Pole in 2011, trekking across the South Pole with 12 injured servicemen from the UK, the US and the Commonwealth in 2013, and joining wounded veterans for their incredible 1,000-mile walk of Britain in 2015!’
The pointed social media message came as an insider alleged that Harry is desperately sad about being stripped of his roles as Captain General of the Royal Marines, the ceremonial head of the Corps; Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.
Kensington Palace has refused to discuss Harry’s private schedule, but he is almost certain to fly out to Canada to see his family after Monday with no more UK events pencilled in and staff being let go at the couple’s Frogmore Cottage home already.
Harry’s grandmother the Queen issued an emotional statement on Saturday, saying she recognised the ‘challenges’ the couple had faced over the past year.
Unusually, she used the first names of her grandson and his family in a public message.
The Queen said: ‘Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.
‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.’
She added: ‘I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.
‘I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.
‘It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.’
In statement issued previously on behalf of the couple by Buckingham Palace, they said that under the agreement they understood they were ‘required’ to step back from royal duties.
Earning money from lucrative contracts and still remaining active members of the monarchy would have been problematic and has caused issues for royals who have tried to straddle the two positions in the past.