Harry ‘flies back to Canada’ after move to step back endorsed by charity chief

BRITAIN-AFRICA-CONFERENCE-ECONOMY

The Duke of Sussex has reportedly flown back to Canada to be reunited with his wife and baby son after his decision to step back from royal life was endorsed by the chairman of his flagship charity.

Harry left the UK after meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson and world leaders at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, which is likely to be one of his few remaining official engagements before the Sussexes take a "leap of faith" and leave the monarchy in the spring.

The duke gave an emotional speech 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 wife Meghan and son Archie are setting up home.

Johnny Hornby, chairman of Sentebale, a charity co-founded by Harry and Lesotho's Prince Seeiso, said the duke had indicated the solution was not something he "ideally" wanted.

Asked if it mattered to the Africa-based charity, which supports youngsters living with HIV, if Harry was royal or had a title, Mr Hornby told Radio 4's Today programme: "No, I don't think it matters at all.

"I think he has a kind of unique ability and an aura around him when he's with children, when he's with any gathering, I think his passion comes over.

"We don't need from Sentebale's perspective his title, we just need his time and his passion and he's committed to give us that."

At a private event for Sentebale on Sunday night in London, Harry spoke about leaving royal duties behind in a bid for a "more peaceful life" for his family.

His comments came after Buckingham Palace released the outcome of talks between the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Harry over the future role of the Sussexes.

Harry and Meghan had wanted to remain as working royals, although not prominent members, and drop their public funding so they could become financially independent – a dual role many commentators said was fraught with problems.

In a statement issued on Saturday after royal family talks, the Sussexes announced they will stop carrying out royal duties from the spring, no longer use HRH and will repay the taxpayers millions spent on their Berkshire home.

Critics have accused the couple of turning their backs on the monarchy to enjoy the freedom of being able to take on commercial ventures.

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Prince Harry steps out at Palace
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Prince Harry steps out at Palace
The Duke of Sussex with children playing rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens, London, as he hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23rd through to November 27th, 2021 in 17 cities across England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex gestures during the draw for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 at Buckingham Palace in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEREMY SELWYN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex gestures as he chats to school children prior to the draw for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 at Buckingham Palace in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEREMY SELWYN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23rd through to November 27th, 2021 in 17 cities across England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duke of Sussex in the Buckingham Palace gardens, London, as he hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Duke of Sussex with children playing rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens, London, as he hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrives to watch children play rugby league prior to the draw for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 at Buckingham Palace in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23rd through to November 27th, 2021 in 17 cities across England. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League poses with children from a local school after watching them play rugby league in the Buckingham Palace gardens before the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League talks to children from a local school after watching them play rugby league in the Buckingham Palace gardens before the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Kids play rugby ahead of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football League visit to host the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020 in London, England. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23rd through to November 27th, 2021 in 17 cities across England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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The Evening Standard has reported the Queen had the choice of stripping Harry of his dukedom and using one of his lesser titles.

The newspaper quoted a source as saying it was "seriously considered" but another source told the PA news agency this was "categorically untrue".

The discussions were described as "extremely friendly and constructive" when they ended.

In the Sentebale speech, Harry 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.

"I've accepted this, knowing that it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had to come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."

Mr Hornby said he met Harry on Friday when they went through major events for the coming year, from trips to Africa to the opening of new camps that support teenagers living with HIV, and a research project the charity is doing with Royal Holloway, University of London.

He added of the duke: "He couldn't be more passionate then he has been to date, and he'll certainly be as passionate going forward."

Harry was not officially attending the investment summit at a London hotel but was holding one-to-one meetings with a number of foreign leaders at the request of the UK Government.

He sat down to talks with Moroccan prime minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani, Malawi's President Peter Mutharika, and Filipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique.

It is likely the Government asked Harry to meet the African leaders because he has a keen interest in the continent and the royal family employs "soft diplomacy" to help strengthen Britain's ties with her allies.

In a few months the duke will no longer be representing the UK in an official capacity and events like the summit will only be open to him as a guest.

Questions have also been raised about how Harry and Meghan will continue with their Sussex Royal brand when they cease being working royals.

This issue and other questions – including funding for the couple and son Archie's protection – have yet to be resolved.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a church service at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England, on January 19, 2020. - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy. The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II arriving at St Mary the Virgin, Hillington, Norfolk to attend a Sunday church service. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (C) accompanies Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as she arrives at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England, on January 19, 2020. - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy. The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends church at St Mary the Virgin at Hillington in Sandringham on January 19, 2020 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend church at St Mary the Virgin at Hillington in Sandringham on January 19, 2020 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (R) accompanies Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as she arrives for a church service at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England, on January 19, 2020. - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy. The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: St Mary the Virgin at Hillington in Sandringham on January 19, 2020 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Duke of York (right) arriving at St Mary the Virgin, Hillington, Norfolk to attend a Sunday church service. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II arriving at St Mary the Virgin, Hillington, Norfolk to attend a Sunday church service. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of York arriving at St Mary the Virgin, Hillington, Norfolk to attend a Sunday church service. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend church at St Mary the Virgin at Hillington in Sandringham on January 19, 2020 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves (R) after attending a church service at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England, on January 19, 2020. - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy. The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Queen Elizabeth II attends church at St Mary the Virgin church at Hillington in Sandringham on January 19, 2020 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
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