Meghan Markle has returned to Canada after announcing her plans to “step back” and become “financially independent” from the royal family, according to multiple reports.
Shortly following her bombshell statement with Prince Harry, in which the couple announced “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family” in order to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” Meghan, 38, flew back to the North American country, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
Harry, 35, meanwhile, remained in England to continue the discussion with the palace about the big move, ITV royal editor Chris Ship tweeted.
PEOPLE previously reported that Meghan and Harry’s 8-month-old son Archie remained in Canada while the couple flew to London, where they made their first appearance of the new year at Canada House on Tuesday to thank the country for hosting them during their holiday getaway.
It is believed that Archie stayed with Meghan’s close pal Jessica Mulroney, whose three children served as page boys and a flower girl in the couple’s royal wedding in May 2018. Soon after the couple made their shocking announcement on Wednesday, Jessica appeared to voice her support via an Instagram post.
The Canadian stylist shared a quote from American filmmaker Gina Carey: “A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.”
Meghan and Harry first revealed plans to split their time between the U.K. and North America in their surprise statement Wednesday.
“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,” they wrote on Instagram. “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 announcement was made despite warnings from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to hold off, according to a report from the Evening Standard, and that Harry had met with the 93-year-old monarch and the 71-year-old heir prior to releasing the statement.
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Harry approached his father about spending more time in North America ahead of Christmas, which was met with the need to come up with a thorough plan, the outlet reported. The royal drafted a proposal for Charles in early January, however, he was told that they needed time to figure out details such as funding.
Harry then asked to meet with the Queen upon his return from Canada, according to the outlet. While she agreed to meet, she explained that plans for his role should be handled by Prince Charles. The meeting between Harry and his grandmother was blocked by courtiers, but the monarch maintained that Harry and Meghan should not make any announcement regarding their future plans.
Just hours after Harry and Meghan shared their plan, Queen Elizabeth reacted by saying the conversation is still in “early” stages.
“There is a lot of hurt about this,” one royal source told PEOPLE.