PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle are looking to move to Canada for a significant portion of this year as they actively consider their future role in the Royal Family.
Long-term options being floated include the Sussexes relinquishing their HRH titles or relocating their office to Canada.
The Sun has learned they will start discussing their plans with senior royals — expected to include the Queen and Prince Charles — in the coming days.
But sources stressed the talks are preliminary and nothing has yet been finalised.
The couple have told close friends they want to spend some of the next two months working out of Canada after a six-week trial holiday over Christmas and New Year was deemed highly successful.
Friends of the couple in Canada and the US are supportive of the move, which they say comes after the couple have been sidelined by the monarchy.
A pal revealed: "It is true that Harry and Meghan will spend a fair amount of time in Canada over the next couple of months and possibly going forward too.
"Right now they are starting talks with their family about their plans for the future. Those conversations are at a very early stage.
"There is a very careful and serious process to go through which they are going to respect.
"But it is clear they are on a different and unique path, and they are very much thinking about what the future looks like for them."
CANADA IS NUMBER ONE OPTION
The friend went on: "That could include being based in Canada or the possibility of walking away from their HRH titles, although hopefully it will not come to that.
"It's been a very tough year — they're newlyweds and they have a young baby — so they're looking at what their life looks like in the future. Everything is on the table."
It is clear they are on a different and unique path, and they are very much thinking about what the future looks like for them.
Canada has replaced an African state as the number one option for the couple to make their semi-permanent base outside of the UK.
The friend explained: "They have a lot of friends there.
"Meghan feels comfortable and at home there because she lived there for seven years before meeting Harry.
"They very much enjoyed their time over Christmas and New Year where they weren't pictured once and were left alone."
Harry and Meghan's official staff will remain at Buckingham Palace.
But the couple are expected to work closely with the controversial US PR company Sunshine Sachs to launch the Sussex Royal Foundation in the coming months.
The friend added: "They took a genuine break over Christmas. But they are back working and planning the launch of the Sussex Royal Foundation and Sunshine Sachs are involved in that."
The decisions Harry and Meghan make are likely to be highly controversial and unconventional, with some courtiers worrying it could essentially see the couple “exile themselves from the royal family”.
However, their friends argue it has become clear to the couple that the monarchy is moving towards a future focused on Prince Charles and Prince William.
One said: "They are back to work. They have nothing to hide and have got so much good work to do.
"But it has been made very clear by the institution that the Sussexes are not central to the future plan.
"Just look at the picture released last week of the Queen with the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and George."
FIRST XMAS WITH ARCHIE IN VANCOUVER ISLAND
Meghan's pals also laughed off claims she is not happy with the British weather, as has recently been claimed.
Another friend said: "That is ridiculous. Look at the temperatures in Canada."
Harry and Meghan spent their first Christmas with baby Archie at a rented $ 14.1million home in Vancouver Island.
They were also visited by Meghan's mum Doria Ragland, snubbing a royal Christmas at Sandringham just days after Prince Philip was taken to hospital.
The 11,000 sq ft property on Canada's West Coast boasts five bedrooms and eight bathrooms, as well as a guest cottage with three beds and two baths.
Temporary fencing, cameras and security were added to the home during their stay.
In March, they attended a Commonwealth Day event at Canada House celebrating Canadian culture with expats from the country in the UK.
Pregnant Meghan was presented with a babygro emblazoned with a maple leaf.
Harry held his Invictus Games for wounded soldiers in the Canadian city of Toronto in 2017. The couple made their first public appearance watching a wheelchair tennis game.
DESIRE TO LEAVE THE UK
Meghan was based in the city while filming US legal drama Suits, which she appeared in from 2011 until 2017.
She put her three-bedroom townhouse up for sale in December 2017, weeks after the pair announced their engagement.
It sold for £ 1.2million the following month. Harry spoke of his desire to leave the UK in a controversial ITV documentary with Tom Bradby last October , suggesting Cape Town as a potential location.
Meghan also admitted to becoming disillusioned with public life in the programme.
She said: "It's not enough to just survive something, right? That's not the point of life. You've got to thrive, you've got to feel happy.
"I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried. But I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging."
In a growing sign of the importance of the country to the couple, their first official duty on their return to work was a visit to Canada House today to meet the High Commissioner Janice Charette.
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Buckingham Palace said the Sussexes hoped to “thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada”.
The couple had intended to move to South Africa for up to six months a year. But that plan was scuppered for logistical reasons.
A spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan declined to comment.