Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were already itching to leave England just months after their May 2018 nuptials, according to Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in New Zealand, Governor-General Patsy Reddy.

She told the Associated Press that the couple were interested in putting down roots in the Commonwealth nation, after falling in love with New Zealand during an October 2018 official tour of the country.

“I remember they’d just been down to the Abel Tasman National Park when we sat down and had a drink, and they said that they could imagine living in a place like this and wondered whether we thought it would be theoretically possible. Even possible for them to have a place in New Zealand,” Reddy told the outlet.

“Of course, we said, ‘Sure. It would be fine.’ There are lots of opportunities to live in New Zealand, but that would be something that they’d have to explore,” Reddy said. “They were looking at how they might raise their family. And, obviously, they’ve made some decisions since.” A rep for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to In Touch‘s request for comment.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Wanted To Move To New Zealand

Meghan was already pregnant with the couple’s son, Archie, 2, by the time of their royal tour of New Zealand, where the couple also visited Australia, Fiji and Tonga. Reddy said she didn’t view their questions as a formal request for assistance but more of a discussion about Meghan and Harry’s “hopes for the future.” She said that the pair had seemed impressed with New Zealand’s outdoorsy lifestyle and welcoming residents.

“I thought they were a lovely couple, and I hope they’ve got a great future where they are,” Reddy said.

Meghan and Harry took a break from royal duties in November 2019 to live in British Columbia. In January 2020, the couple made the bombshell decision, now known as “Megxit,” to step down as senior working members of the British Royal Family. They pair wanted the right to earn their own fortune and work toward their own personal charitable causes.

By March 2020, the couple made the permanent move to Southern California. They first resided in actor/director Tyler Perry‘s hilltop Beverly Hills estate, before purchasing a $14 million mansion in the well-heeled enclave of Montecito, just south of Santa Barbara. They’ve signed production deals with Netflix and Spotify, and Harry was reportedly paid $20 million for his memoir, which is due out in the fall of 2022.

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