Meghan Markle is only days into her new life in Canada, but she's already begun doing charity work. The Duchess of Sussex was photographed visiting the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre in Vancouver, where she spoke to its workers and members about issues women in the local area are facing.
In a photograph shared on Facebook, Meghan can be seen dressed casually in jeans and a knitted cream jumper, smiling as she poses with eight women from the centre. The charity's Facebook page captioned the picture: "Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community."
Meghan Markle flew back to Canada last Thursday, after having briefly returned to the UK in early January to deliver the news that she and Prince Harry plan to step down as senior members of the royal family. In a post on Instagram - which the Queen had not been aware was coming last week - the Sussexes explained how they wish to become financially independent, and to split their time between the UK and North America. It's not known exactly how they plan to earn a living, but there's been speculation Meghan may return to acting, or forge a career in fashion.
Prior to her visit to the women's centre, mum-of-one Meghan was photographed for the first time since returning to Canada, as she boarded a sea plane from Vancouver Island. The Duchess was seen smiling in the pictures, taken shortly after she departed the mansion she and Prince Harry spent Christmas in with their son Archie. Shielding herself from the Canadian snow, Meghan wore a khaki, hooded parka coat along with some sturdy brown boots for her journey to the mainland.
There was no sign of baby Archie in the photographs, but he likely remained on Vancouver Island with his nanny while his mum went into the city to carry out her charity visit.
Prince Harry, meanwhile, remains back in the UK where he has been in talks with the rest of the royal family about what the future will look like for he and Meghan. Following a 'summit' at Sandringham on Monday - in which the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry assembled for discussions - Buckingham Palace released a statement saying that the royal family is "entirely supportive" of the Sussexes' choice to make a new life for themselves.
"Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family," read the statement.
Tellingly, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were consistently referred to as "Harry and Meghan" in the statement, which is unusual for a formal Buckingham Palace announcement. It suggested that the couple may not be allowed to continue holding their titles, however this has not been confirmed.
"Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK," continued the statement. "These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days."
Prince Harry is thought to be due to return to Canada, joining his wife and son, at the weekend after such decisions have been finalised.
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