The Duke of Sussex is understood to have left the UK for Canada last night (Monday NZST) following one of his final official engagements as a working member of the Royal family.

He was said to be desperate to be reunited with his eight-month-old son, Archie, whom he had not seen for two weeks, and his wife in the country the family plans to make their home.

He was whisked to Heathrow following a morning of bilateral meetings with African leaders at the first UK-Africa Investment Summit in Greenwich, south London.

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The Duke also had a private, one-to-one meeting with Boris Johnson, understood to have been at the Prime Minister's request.

His flight back to Vancouver Island, via Montreal, was delayed by 20 minutes as he checked in via the Windsor Suite, and was escorted to the plane.

His departure will be deemed symbolic, just two days after Buckingham Palace announced that it was severing all official ties with the Sussexes as they walk away from public life.

On Sunday evening, the Duke gave an emotional speech at a charity dinner, revealing that he had never wanted to step so wholly away from his public duties but had "no other option.

" He told delegates at the event, in aid of Sentebale, the Lesotho charity he co-founded in 2006, many of them thought to be old friends who have known the Duke for decades, that he had hoped to continue serving the Queen without public funding, but had been told this was not possible.

The decision had "not been made lightly," he said, whilst acknowledging they were "taking a leap of faith".

Johnny Hornby, chairman of Sentebale, said: "Everyone was moved by how genuine he was, and how heartfelt the whole thing was.

" He said the Duke had made it clear he and his wife were "joined at the hip in this endeavour" but added that "anyone who spends time with them can see that clearly.

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, during a photocall with their newborn son Archie. Photo / AP
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, during a photocall with their newborn son Archie. Photo / AP

"Palace sources said they had been given around an hour's notice about the Duke's speech, which The Daily Telegraph understands he wrote himself.

While one senior aide pointed out that it was well known the Sussexes had not got the deal they wanted, another said some courtiers had nevertheless been "taken by surprise" by some of his comments.

"All parties involved in the Sandringham talks signed off on the agreement on Saturday, and we were all under the impression that everyone was happy," the source said.

Aides insisted the Duke had not snubbed his brother by failing to join him at a Buckingham Palace reception for African leaders last night.

The Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex were all in attendance.

Meetings undertaken earlier by the Duke of Sussex in Greenwich, which involved audiences with the leaders of Malawi and Mozambique and Morocco, had been scheduled long before the royal crisis unfolded.

"All engagements around had been in the diary for months," a source said.

"Harry would have been more than welcome at the evening reception but had other plans.

"The two brothers are said to have healed their rift over the last few days in a series of private "peace talks," realising that as the Duke of Sussex prepared to move abroad, it was "now or never".

A report suggested their wives had joined some of the discussions.

It is not known when the Sussexes will return to Britain, although it is believed that the Duke has engagements scheduled during the transition period between now and the spring, when they will formally sever royal ties.

The Duchess of Cornwall, on a visit to a Swindon hospice yesterday, was asked whether she would miss the couple.

"Course," she replied.