Meanwhile, Harry remained in Britain, where he was reportedly in deep discussions with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II; his father, Prince Charles; and his brother, Prince William, about the couple’s future role.
Or, as the tabloid Daily Mail put it: “Queen’s crisis talks with Harry: Duke of Sussex has been locked in four-way call with Her Majesty in Sandringham and Prince Charles in Scotland as they try to avert all out royal war.”
Robert Lacey, a royal biographer and author of “The Crown: The Inside History,” said the talks were likely about details and logistics. If the reports were true that the queen wanted to find a solution “within days,” he said, “well, actually, this shows an awareness, an acceptance of reality, that it has to be made to work in a good and positive way.”
Lacey noted that Prince Charles had previously signaled that he wants a slimmed-down monarchy if and when he takes the throne. “Some European royal families get by with four people,” Lacey said, adding that that might not work for Britain, where there is “such an appetite for royalty.”
But Charles nonetheless wants to cut down on the number of working royals, Lacey said, and part of that plan includes expanding roles for William, who would focus on efforts domestically, and Harry, who would concentrate on members of Britain’s Commonwealth of Nations.
“But half a Harry is better than no Harry, and if Meghan can be kept onside and brought in, that’s all for the good,” he said.
Harry and Meghan took the palace by surprise with their announcement on Wednesday.
Tom Bradby, an ITV journalist who is considered a friend of the royals, disputed that the family didn’t know anything about the couple’s plans, but said they were caught off-guard by the timing.
He told ITV News that Harry had been talking to his family for “some weeks,” and was asked by them to put ideas in writing — which were then leaked to the press.
The Sun tabloid published a front-page story Wednesday claiming Harry and Meghan were looking to move to Canada for a “significant portion of this year.”
“I think he felt once it had been leaked, all bets were off,” Bradby said.
Bradby said Harry and Meghan understood “there was going to be a slimmed-down monarchy, and they weren’t really a part of it.” He also added there have been “really bad personal splits” within the family.
When President Trump was asked by Fox News’s Laura Ingraham if he had any advice for “rogue royals,” he answered instead about the monarch. “I think it’s sad,” he said. “I just have such respect for the queen. I don’t think this should be happening to her.”
Harry and Meghan attempted to explain how they see their roles on their new website, SussexRoyal.com, which promotes “supporting community” above “serving the monarchy” and “strengthening the Commonwealth.”
They said they wanted to continue their charity work, which has focused on issues such as female empowerment and mental health, and that they would also seek to set up a new charitable entity. The Sussexes said they would like to achieve “financial independence.”
But there are more questions than answers. How will they earn money? Will they continue to receive financial support from Prince Charles, who pays for 95 percent of the couple’s expenses via his Duchy of Cornwall estate? Where will they live in North America?
On the last point, they may decide to move to Los Angeles, where Meghan grew up and where her mother lives.
But current speculation is that the couple will take up part-time residence in Canada, perhaps in Toronto, where Meghan lived for more than six years while starring in the legal drama “Suits.”
Eagle-eyed royal watchers noticed that the couple’s new website was created by the same Toronto-based Web designers who did the Tig, Meghan’s now shuttered lifestyle blog.
Canada is a member of the Commonwealth. Even though Prince Harry’s grandmother is the head of state — he will see Queen Elizabeth’s face every time he uses Canadian money — he isn’t an automatic Canadian citizen. He could stay in Canada for up to six months at a time without a visa. The couple could also apply for work visas.
“Canada is the ideal base for the two-way royal work they have in mind,” Lacey said, speculating that Harry and Meghan may try to launch something in the model of the Obama Foundation. He added that “in post-Brexit Britain, it could make sense to strengthen ties across the Atlantic.”
The day before they announced they would be stepping back from public duties, Harry and Meghan visited Canada House in London to thank assembled diplomats for the hospitality they received during a December trip to British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province. Meghan said they had an “incredible time” traveling with their baby, Archie.
“To see Archie go ‘Ah’ when you walk by, and just see how stunning it is — so it meant a lot to us,” she said.
Jessica Mulroney, a Toronto-based stylist and close friend of Meghan’s, posted a quote on Instagram on Thursday, attributed to the filmmaker and singer Gina Carey: “A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.”