Meghan Markle and Prince Harry asked whether it was "theoretically possible" they could move to New Zealand less than 6 months after they began royal duties.
The Sussexes made the inquiry to the Pacific nation's governor-general in Autumn 2018, a full year before 'Megxit' saw them leave for North America, PA reports.
Governor-general Dame Patsy Reddy made the revelation as she retires after 5 years in office.
She recalled the pair sitting down with her after a long day of visits.
The duchess disclosed the couple hoped to "take a step back".
Dame Patsy said: “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.
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"Even possible for them to have a place in New Zealand.
“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.
“They were looking at how they might raise their family. And obviously they’ve made some decisions since.”
Harry and Meghan travelled to NZ as part of their 16-day Pacific tour in October and November 2018.
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Reddy added the couple weren't making a formal request to immigrate, but rather seemed to express a desire to leave the UK.
The Sussexes ultimately left the UK a year after the Pacific tour, enjoying a break in North America in autumn 2019 – from which they never returned.
Dame Patsy added she has a good personal relationship with the Queen, who communicates via letter.
The outgoing ambassador said: "She has told me on the times that I’ve seen her that she finds it interesting to have a personal perspective on what’s happening.
“As she says, ‘I like to know what’s happening between the lines’.”
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