Prince Harry and Meghan discussed moving to New Zealand during their 2018 visit, more than a year before the couple stepped back from royal duties and moved to the US, Governor-General Patsy Reddy says.
She said in an interview with the Associated Press she believed the Queen should remain New Zealand's head of state.
Reddy, 67, will leave her largely ceremonial role in October after a five-year term.
Harry and Meghan visited New Zealand at the end of a hectic 16-day royal tour of the South Pacific, and Reddy recalled the couple as being tired.
"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.
"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."
Reddy said she didn't view it as a formal request for assistance but more of an informal discussion about the couple's hopes for the future. She said the pair seemed impressed with the access to the outdoors and their interactions with New Zealanders.
Still, the discussion shows that the couple were considering options outside of Britain less than six months after they married and well before their eventual move to the US.
During a widely watched interview with Oprah Winfrey near the couple's California home earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, mentioned they'd offered to the royal family to take a step back from royal life in a Commonwealth country such as South Africa or New Zealand.
Reddy said she watched the interview but didn't want to comment on internal royal family business.
"I thought they were a lovely couple and I hope they've got a great future where they are," Reddy said.
Many people in New Zealand believe the country should become an independent republic but Reddy said she believed the Queen should remain the head of state because the arrangement works and has strong historical links.
She said New Zealand has a special connection to the monarchy because its founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed by Maori and the representative of Queen Victoria.
Reddy said she agreed with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's assessment that there was currently little appetite among New Zealanders for a constitutional change.
Reddy pushed back at the negative portrayal of Prince Charles, saying she thought he would be a good monarch.
"I've been enormously impressed with the breadth of his knowledge, the depth of his well-considered perceptions on a range of subjects," she said.
"From urban planning to the environment, to the impact of religions on the world."
Children's advocate Cindy Kiro has been named by Ardern to succeed Reddy.
Australian Associated Press