Prince Harry was given no choice but to sign the deal allowing him and Meghan to walk away from The Firm.
The Queen had insisted his decision must not overshadow senior royals’ high-profile engagements this week.
So Harry, 35, had no option but to agree to the terms set out in front of him, banning him and Meghan from using their HRH titles and forcing him to give up his cherished military roles.
Sources close to him say he was “devastated” at the development but felt that if he did not agree, he and wife Meghan, 38, stood to lose even more ground in their bid to leave the royal fold.
A palace source said: “It was made abundantly clear to Harry: agree to this and then you can go. By his own admission it was not under the terms he wanted but he had no other option.
“There was no halfway house, no half-in-half-out arrangement, and this was the only one on the table.
“Meghan and Harry were so desperate to get out they had no choice – and, on the face of it, it looks like they have given up a considerable amount.”
The deal will be reviewed in 12 months to see how it is working for all parties.
Prince Harry was thought to have flown to Canada tonight after he was reportedly spotted at Heathrow Airport on Monday afternoon.
Earlier he attended the UK-Africa Investment summit in London, where he met leaders including Boris Johnson , Moroccan prime minister Saadeddine Othmani, Malawi president Peter Mutharika and Mozambique president Filipe Nyusi,
But he did not join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the plush reception for African leaders at Buckingham Palace tonight.
It was the first time William had hosted such an event on behalf of the Queen, signifying another major shift as he takes on more responsibilities for the Crown.
Prince Charles has a major visit to Israel this week where he will take on official engagements in the country and travel to Palestinian territories for the first time.
He has been invited to speak at the World Holocaust Forum with a select band of world leaders, accepting the honour ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also attend the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony in Westminster next Monday.
The Prince of Wales has agreed to fund the Sussexes for a year as they set out to build their independent fortune.
But it is not known whether Charles’ support will be funded from the Duchy of Cornwall or his personal wealth.
In Canada, Harry will be reunited with Meghan for the first time since she left the UK following the couple’s bombshell announcement on January 8 that they wanted to step back.
She flew out to rejoin their eight-month-old son Archie within days of their announcement, leaving Harry to face the backlash from his family for defying the Queen’s advice to wait before going public with their decision.
The Queen, Charles and William had ordered aides to work round the clock to thrash out a deal for their departure.
But the Sussexes’ own plans were shot down and ripped up after the three most senior royals refused to agree to the couple’s cherry-picked propositions.
The exit deal allows Harry and Meghan to quit royal life and set up home in Canada – despite huge wrangling over what big-money deals they will be allowed to sign up to, and who will fork out millions for their security.
The Sussexes have agreed to pay back £2.4million of public funds used to renovate their Windsor home Frogmore Cottage , which will remain their UK base.
Harry spoke on Sunday night of his “great sadness” over the deal he had to sign up to and the commitments he would have to leave behind.
In a heartfelt speech at a private dinner with his charity Sentebale he told of the sacrifices he was making in pursuit of a more peaceful life – admitting the plan he and Meghan had put forward “wasn’t possible”.
Pals of Harry have told how they fear he will “become even more lost” as he sets up home thousands of miles away from his family in a country he has no ties to.
Giving it all up for love was only way, says Mirror's Royal Editor
So the deal is done, Harry and Meghan can leave out the back door and everyone’s happy, right? Well, so we were led to believe after the announcement came that a historic agreement had been struck.
But just as the dust was settling on one of the most frantic periods in modern royal history, Prince Harry couldn’t help but deliver a parting shot.
In a speech to a room of “friends” at a dinner for the charity Sentebale, which he set up in 2006, the Duke of Sussex revealed, in his own words, that his dream of being a part-time royal “wasn’t possible”.
The terms set out by the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William left him in no doubt that if he wanted to leave, then this was to be the only way.
And on the face of it, he has sacrificed a lot, leaving his home, his family, his job and his military connections to go to a country he doesn’t know with just his wife and young son for company.
Sitting down with the family you defied and striking any deal cannot have been easy.
Now he’s spoken of the next chapter of his life, “a leap of faith” he’s called it, and that is probably a just description.
But one can’t help but feel sad that it has come to this, and wonder whether giving up so much will deliver the “peaceful life” Harry so craves.
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