The couple had only recently arrived in the UK after spending an extended festive break in the Commonwealth country, but the duchess is now back with son Archie who remained behind, reportedly looked after by a nanny and friends of the duchess.
A spokeswoman for the duchess said: “I can confirm she is in Canada.”
A Buckingham Palace source said the Queen, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge have asked aides to work “at pace” with governments and the Sussex Household to find a solution to the couple’s plans to step back from their frontline roles as members of the monarchy and become financially independent royals. It is understood Meghan was always due to return to Canada after a brief return trip to the UK.
A source said “she came back to attend some meetings and then went back”.
The royal family are in the midst of a crisis that overshadows the recent difficulties they faced with the Duke of York’s disastrous television interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
But it appears the head of state has moved quickly to resolve what some commentators have dubbed the monarchy’s new Wallis Simpson moment – a reference to Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 to be with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
A conference call between the Queen in Sandringham, Charles in Birkhall, Aberdeenshire, William at Kensington Palace and Harry at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle was staged, according to reports. It is likely they discussed Harry and Meghan’s bombshell statement released on Wednesday that stated the couple will be “stepping back” as senior royals and will divide their time between the UK and North America.
The announcement was said to have left the Queen and other senior royals “hurt” and it appears the head of state tried to forestall the statement after her grandson asked to meet her, only to be “ignored” by the couple.
The royal households of the Queen, Charles, William and Harry are now working to come up with a feasible plan for the Sussexes’ future roles. An outcome is expected in coming days.
It is understood the offices of the royal family are also talking to multiple governments, which suggests US and Canadian officials may be involved alongside UK counterparts.