Days after decision to step back as 'senior' royals, Meghan Markle returns to Canada

A little over two days after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they will step back as "senior royals" and work to become financially independent, Meghan Markle is now back in Canada.

"I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada," the couple's spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.

It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and "she may stay there for the foreseeable future".

William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution. But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie's birth a year later.

The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage -- Harry calling some of it racist -- and taken several papers to court. The prince had also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.

Also Read: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle step back from British royal family

Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, rocked the monarchy on Wednesday with an announcement made without consulting any senior royals from the sovereign downwards. The couple said they would now "balance" their time between Britain and North America, rip up long-established relations with the press, and seek financial independence.

They released their shock statement on a pre-prepared new website, their Instagram account and through Buckingham Palace's email communications system.

They went on to say that they intended to "launch ... our new charitable entity," about which they would provide more details in the future.

"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," the royal pair said, referring to the monarchy.

An hour and 40 minutes later, the palace, seemingly rattled, issued a brief statement of its own, saying discussions were at an early stage and involved "complicated issues".

"Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through," the royal family wrote on their official website on January 8.

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A lot has happened in the last two days, since the announcement was made.

Queen Elizabeth II has ordered all four royal households of the UK to find "workable solutions" to the crisis with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle "within days not weeks".

On Thursday, Madame Tussauds London removed the wax figurines of Prince Harry and Markle from their position amidst the royals.

"We've got to respect their wishes," the organisation wrote on its Twitter handle adding the hashtag "Megxit".

A photo of the Queen's Christmas message shared by the royal family is also doing rounds on social media. The photo shows Price Charles and Camilla and Prince William-Kate and family but there is no Harry-Meghan-Archie on the table. During her message there were a number family photographs on her desk from which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were missing.

In the photo the Queen sits beside photographs of Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip, the Cambridge's Christmas card picture, and her father George VI during her Christmas address, but Harry, Meghan and Archie were conspicuously absent.

However, in her 2018 Christmas message, Prince Harry and Meghan could be seen in two framed photographs.

Also Read: 'William will fly to America to say 'Chandu Ki Chachi' to Meghan': Twitter has a hilarious 'K3G' analogy for Royal showdown

(With inputs from agencies)