Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Share Final Update as Senior Working Royals
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Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Share Final Update as Senior Working Royals

With Tuesday, March 31, marking Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s final day as senior working royals, the couple have taken to their @SussexRoyal Instagram account one last time.

A spokesperson for the couple announced today that, though they “would prefer that in the immediate weeks and months, the focus remains on the global response to COVID-19,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex understand that there are outstanding questions relating to their future outside of the Royal Household, which officially begins on April 1.

The March 30 post marks the final time the couple post under the @SussexRoyal handle and also the end of, the website they launched at the start of the year to outline details of their transition from royal duties. From this point onwards, the accounts will become inactive.

As has previously been reported, the couple will now spend the future focusing on their non-profit organization, having shelved ideas last year to establish a U.K.-based Sussex Royal Foundation. Though Travalyst—Harry’s sustainable tourism venture, which was to be an anchor initiative for the foundation—will continue, all other aspects of the charity are being wound up.

“The Trustees of the Sussex Royal Foundation have been an invaluable resource to The Duke and Duchess, providing essential guidance,” says the spokesperson. “The Duke and Duchess are incredibly grateful for the Trustees’ support and counsel in recent months.”

Travalyst, one of Harry’s main focuses for the year ahead, is now being established as an independent non-profit organization based in the U.K.

“COVID-19 has presented the world with one of the greatest public health and socio-economic challenges of modern times,” says a statement released March 30. “It has also forced one of the biggest human behavioral changes in generations. When restrictions related to controlling the pandemic ease, the role of responsible tourism to support communities and destinations around the world will be more important than ever. The Duke is working closely with each of the Travalyst partners to better understand how this non-profit organization can aid in global recovery, especially by supporting communities, wildlife and the environment at the same time.”

Despite President Trump’s breathless March 29th tweet about refusing the couple security in the U.S., where they are now currently based, Harry and Meghan have already made their own private security arrangements. “For their safety and that of those protecting them, no further comment or guidance will be provided,” says the Sussex spokesperson, who adds that tabloid reports and speculation on security measures “interferes with operational ability and adds risk to all those receiving protection, those who are protecting them, and potentially to members of the public.”

From the end of Tuesday, the couple will no longer rely on their household office at Buckingham Palace, which was headed up by communications secretary Sara Latham and private secretary Fiona Mcilwham. In the U.S., PR firm Sunshine Sachs will represent the couple for media enquiries, while trusted former Royal Foundation aide James Holt will handle the role for the U.K. and Commonwealth. Starting in April, former staffer from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Catherine St-Laurent, will start in a post as Chief of Staff to the couple and also serve as Executive Director of their new yet-to-be-named non-profit organization.

In a statement shared with, the duke and duchess said, “We are proud to be joined by Catherine St-Laurent in this next chapter with us. Her leadership and proven track record working within two organizations that have tremendous impact in the world—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pivotal Ventures—make her an incredible asset and we are excited to have her on our team.”

St-Laurent joins from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates, where she helped lay the groundwork for the organization since its inception in 2015. Prior to this, Catherine led Melinda Gates’s communications for several years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A native of Montreal, St-Laurent moved to Seattle in 2011 after nearly a decade working in Brussels and London.

“From our very first conversation, Harry and Meghan have expressed a deep commitment to improving lives and having a positive impact on society,” St-Laurent tells BAZAAR in a statement. “Their perspective on the role that empathy, connection, and compassion can play in that mission is both deeply personal and incredibly timely. I am delighted and honored to be able to play a role in realizing their vision as they embark on this journey of learning, listening, and inspiring all of us to act.”

As Harry, Meghan, and their son Archie settle in to their new lives in California, their spokesperson adds, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will spend the next few months focusing on their family and continuing to do what they can, safely and privately, to support and work with their pre-existing charitable commitments while developing their future non-profit organization.”

The duke and duchess remain committed and supportive to their patronages and will continue to work closely with them.


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have Left Canada and Are Now Settled in L.A.
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have Left Canada and Are Now Settled in L.A.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have left Vancouver Island in Canada for the U.S., a source tells PEOPLE.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved from the home they were staying in on Vancouver Island and are now settled in the U.S., the source says. They are in Los Angeles — Meghan’s hometown. They have been living in a secluded compound and haven’t ventured out amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A representative for the couple had no comment.

Although the couple and their 10-month-old son Archie had been living in Canada since announcing they were stepping back from their royal roles in January, sources told PEOPLE that they had been making plans to spend time in L.A.

Meghan, 38, has a big support system in L.A., including her mother Doria Ragland, who works as a social worker and yoga instructor, and several friends who visited the couple on Vancouver Island.

A person in their circle previously told PEOPLE that they were “looking at houses in L.A.”

“Harry is looking straight ahead at his future with his family,” another source said. “They will be spending time in California…He’s not looking back.”

On Wednesday, it was announced that Harry’s father Prince Charles, 71, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Prince Charles has spoken to his sons Prince William and Prince Harry to share the news of his positive coronavirus diagnosis, the palace confirms.

Charles was last with his sons William and Harry in public on March 9 at the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. The event marked Harry and wife Meghan Markle’s last official royal event in the U.K. before they officially step down as senior working royals on March 31.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared messages of support amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“These are uncertain times. And now, more than ever, we need each other. We need each other for truth, for support, and to feel less alone during a time that can honestly feel quite scary,” they wrote on Instagram last week. “There are so many around the world who need support right now, who are working tirelessly to respond to this crisis behind the scenes, on the frontline, or at home. Our willingness, as a people, to step up in the face of what we are all experiencing with COVID-19 is awe-inspiring. This moment is as true a testament there is to the human spirit.”

On Monday, they paid tribute to healthcare workers in a post, saying: “Around the world, the response from people in every walk of life, to protect and look out for their communities has been inspiring. None more so than the brave and dedicated healthcare workers on the frontline, risking their own well-being to care for the sick and fight COVID-19. Wherever you are in the world, we are all incredibly grateful.”

Meghan’s first post-royal gig was announced on Thursday. The Duchess of Sussex has provided the narration for the upcoming Disneynature documentary, Elephants, streaming on April 3 on Disney+.


Meghan Markle To Voice ‘Elephant’ Documentary For Disney+
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Meghan Markle To Voice ‘Elephant’ Documentary For Disney+

Disney+ documentary Elephant is getting a royal voiceover after the streamer confirmed that Meghan Markle is to narrate the film.

The doc, produced by Disneynature, will launch on the digital platform on April 3.

This comes after her husband, Prince Harry, was overheard to have to lobbied former Disney CEO Bob Iger to help his wife get voiceover work. Disney noted that the film would be narrated by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, one of the last times that she will be able to use that title before she gives it up at the end of the month.

Directed by Mark Linfield, co-directed by Vanessa Berlowitz and Alastair Fothergill, and produced by Mark Linfield, Vanessa Berlowitz and Roy Conli, Elephant follows African elephant Shani and her son Jomo as their herd make a journey hundreds of miles across the vast Kalahari Desert. Led by their matriarch, Gaia, the family faces brutal heat, dwindling resources and persistent predators, as they follow in their ancestor’s footsteps on a quest to reach a lush, green paradise.


Inside Duchess Meghan’s Emotional Farewell to Royal Life at a Private Engagement
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Inside Duchess Meghan’s Emotional Farewell to Royal Life at a Private Engagement

It was supposed to be a quiet day off in the countryside until my phone went berserk—the staccato buzz I set for palace correspondence almost sending it off the table. “His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle,” the November 27, 2017, email read, followed by a note inviting royal correspondents to join the couple for a special photo call to mark the occasion. A few road rules may have been bent to make the 80-ish mile drive from Oxfordshire to Kensington Palace—in traffic—but it was worth it. Standing by the lily-covered Sunken Pond as Harry shared his joy at finally finding his teammate, it was the perfect start to a chapter that would finally bring the royal family into the 21st century.

Over the months and years that followed, I closely shadowed the work of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, getting to know the couple better through their humanitarian endeavors, engagements, and overseas visits. Their high-energy work ethic and passion for social justice attracted a new, more diverse demographic of royal watcher to the scene. As a young(ish), biracial royal correspondent, the change was exciting. And as their popularity grew around the world, so did a new golden era for the House of Windsor. Continue reading Inside Duchess Meghan’s Emotional Farewell to Royal Life at a Private Engagement

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Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Spotlight Military Veterans at Awards Ceremony

Outside London’s Mansion House venue, all eyes were on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan as the dozens of cameras clicked away for their arrival at one of their final royal engagements.

But inside this year’s Endeavour Fund Awards, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did all they could to ensure that the night—which celebrates the achievements of wounded, injured, and sick military personnel—was not about them.

Arriving at the evening ceremony, Harry quickly put the focus back on the servicemen and servicewomen who have spent the past year taking part in remarkable sporting and adventure challenges. “This is all about you guys!” he told wife of rowing marine Lee Spencer, Claire, during a reception for guests.

Both Harry and Meghan handed out awards at the annual ceremony, which was hosted by former Invictus Games medalist JJ Chalmers. The duchess was first to announce the Celebrating Excellence prize, honoring Guinness World Record holder Lee Spencer, who became the world’s first physically disabled person to row from Europe to South America solo and unsupported.

“It’s very nice to be back,” Meghan said of her return to the U.K., adding that she and Harry carried out their judging commitments from their Canada home. “It’s the most inspiring space … so I will say when we were watching the videos all the way from Canada we were like, ‘Who are we going to choose?’”

Prince Harry was on-hand to present the Henry Worsley Award to veteran Tom Oates, who is overcoming severe PTSD to dedicate his life to helping others through deptherapy—a specially adapted scuba diving program for injured military personnel and former members of the British Armed Forces.

“Meghan and I are so happy to be back here with you, to celebrate each and every one of you for your achievements, your service, and your resilience,” Harry, who served 10 years in the army, said in a speech. “For some, the military community represents a brotherhood or sisterhood that no other organization can provide, and for others, it’s a way of life which you never want to leave. For a lot of us, it’s both. Being able to serve Queen and Country is something we all are rightly proud of, and it never leaves us. Once served, always serving!”

The couple were left open-mouthed when the ceremony’s first winner, Danny Holland, was given the Recognizing Achievement Award for his success as a driver for “Mission Motorsport.” Holland, who has overcome mental health issues after being injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, got down on bended knee as he asked his “missus” for her hand in marriage. Both Harry and Meghan got up to cheer as the the audience applauded.

Since its 2012 launch, The Endeavour Fund has supported 108 projects with over $3.8 million in grants that has assisted over 6,000 servicemembers with opportunities to rediscover self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges.

As part of their agreement to step away from royal duties, Harry’s military appointments have been put on hold, but during his speech the duke reinforced his commitment to working with his patronages and organizations such as the Endeavour Fund. “[The fund] came from seeing the gaping hole that can be left after taking off that uniform,” he explained. “I firmly believe that there is an even greater future ahead. Our ambition is to build on what has been achieved—to expand the Endeavour Fund further so that its impact can be felt around the world.”

Harry’s speech coincided with an announcement that the Endeavour Fund will be working much more closely with the Invictus Games in the future. On Wednesday, March 4, Harry privately attended an Invictus Games Foundation and Royal Society evening reception after the two organizations hosted a conference on the future of trauma recovery earlier in the day. Leading figures from academia, industry, the NHS, armed forces, and voluntary sector came together for the one-day event.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Officially Close Buckingham Palace Office at the End of March
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Officially Close Buckingham Palace Office at the End of March

As of April 1, Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer have an office at Buckingham Palace, a spokesperson for the couple said today as more details of their future were confirmed. The Sussexes will transition to their new working model on March 31st, and it has been agreed that there will be an initial 12-month review to “ensure the arrangement works for all parties.”

A spokesperson said that due to the fact that the Duke and Duchess will not be undertaking official engagements in support of the Queen, which are funded by the Sovereign Grant, that an office at Buckingham Palace was “no longer needed.” They will continue to be represented through their UK foundation team.

The couple will split their time between the UK and North America and will continue to work closely with their existing patronages. A spokesperson said they are planning to carry out engagements in the UK and Commonwealth throughout the year.

They have also been having meetings to establish a new non-profit organization, more details of which will be shared later in the year.

The themes of their work will be a continuation of the causes those they already support. “The Duke’s priorities remain supporting the welfare of servicemen and women, conservation, sport for social development, HIV, and Travalyst which works to mobilize the tourism and travel industry for social good,” a spokesperson said, adding: “For The Duchess, her focus remains women’s empowerment, gender equality and education.”

It was previously announced that Harry would give up his honorary military positions and a spokesperson said today that he will not use them for 12 months. However, no new appointments will be made to fill these roles before the 12-month review of the new arrangements is completed. His involvement with the Invictus Games will continue.

Harry will remain sixth in line to the throne and he and Meghan’s status in the Order of Precedence is unchanged. As previously announced, however, they will retain but not use their HRH styles and will continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Before the new arrangement takes effect, several public appearances are planned for the couple which will be covered by media in the usual way with a royal rota in place. Harry will make a visit to see the Invictus Games Choir at a recording session on February 28th, and he and Meghan will attend the Endeavour Fund Awards on March 5th to recognize wounded, injured, and sick service personnel and veterans who have gone on to use sport and adventurous challenge as part of their recovery.

Harry will also join Lewis Hamilton at the official opening of immersive museum the Silverstone Experience on March 6th. And he and Meghan will attend the Mountbatten Music Festival on March 7th at the Royal Albert Hall to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity and CLIC Sargent. Meghan will make a public appearance to Mary International Women’s Day on March 8th, and they will both attend the Commonwealth Service on March 9th with the Queen and the rest of the royal family.

Once the new working model takes effect, the couple will attend the Invictus Games in May, and Harry is also expected to be at the London Marathon in April in his capacity as patron.


Why Were Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Taking Meetings At Stanford?
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Why Were Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Taking Meetings At Stanford?

Less than a week after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made their first official appearance as ex-royals, the couple flew to California to take a meeting in an unlikely place. NBC News reports that the duke and duchess spent Tuesday at Stanford University, where they conducted a “brainstorming session” with a collection of professors. The meeting lasted a few hours and was organized around their ongoing work to found a global nonprofit organization.

According to NBC, the couple flew commercial to Palo Alto, and were greeted at the campus by the university’s president Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford is known for its close ties to the tech industry, a subject that Meghan and Harry have not expressed too much interest in so far. But their Graduate School of Business is well-known for its nonprofit track and Center for Social Innovation, where professors and students research impact investing, responsible sourcing, and protest, among many other topics.

When Meghan and Harry announced their desire to leave their positions as senior royals in January, they highlighted their commitment to charity on a website they designed to explain their reasoning. “The range of communities supported by The Duke of Sussex include groups promoting environmental and societal well-being,” the website says. “While supporting Prince Harry’s work in these areas, The Duchess of Sussex has continued to focus particular energy on women’s empowerment and gender equality, as she has for many years.”

It comes just days after reports claimed that the couple is already well on their way to lining up work. After reports that Meghan was working on a voiceover role for Disney, in exchange for a donation to Elephants Without Borders, the Daily Mail spoke to a source who said that Meghan is planning on continuing work with Disney. CNBC confirmed Wednesday that Harry is in talks to appear on Goldman Sachs’ webseries, Talks With GS.


Meghan and Harry Apparently Took a Secret Trip to Miami
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Meghan and Harry Apparently Took a Secret Trip to Miami

After their exit from the royal family, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry took some time to themselves, and were said to be hiking and doing yoga in a mansion on Vancouver Island. But people close to the couple said that they were already planning their next move and on their way to becoming financially independent—and on Thursday, they made a move that signaled how they’ll get there. Page Six reported that Harry and Meghan spoke at a JP Morgan event in Miami Thursday night.

“Meghan and Harry headlined the event as the keynote speakers,” a source said to the outlet. “It was all very hush-hush, with a lot of security.” The event took place at 1 Hotel in South Beach, and Page Six could not confirm how much the couple was paid for the appearance. JP Morgan declined to comment when reached by Vanity Fair.

Page Six followed up with more details about the speech, which was introduced by Gayle King, a guest at Harry and Meghan’s 2018 wedding. “Harry spoke about mental health and how he has been in therapy for the past few years to try to overcome the trauma of losing his mother,” the source said, adding that he also addressed the fallout of his and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior royals, “because he wants to protect his family. He does not want Meghan and their son Archie to go through what he did as a child.”

Harry had already spoken at another private event about many of the same topics; on January 20 he spoke at a dinner for his charity Sentebale in London, and said, “When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing, you looked out for me for so long. But the media is a powerful force, and my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than just us.”

By making this speech in Miami, Meghan and Harry are following in the footsteps of politicians and philanthropists who earn significant portions of their income through corporate appearances. In 2016, Hillary Clinton came under fire for a series of speeches to banks and other Wall Street players, making as much as $225,000 for each, and in 2017, Barack Obama made $1.2 million for three speeches he made for various financial firms.

The news comes days after reports that Meghan and Harry are looking to settle in Los Angeles for the summer, though one friend told People that they intend to keep a house in Canada.


Queen Elizabeth Reveals Conclusion to Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Royal Exit for ‘Peaceful New Life’
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Queen Elizabeth Reveals Conclusion to Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Royal Exit for ‘Peaceful New Life’

Queen Elizabeth is providing the results of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

After a royal family summit on Monday, which saw the monarch, 93, Prince Charles, Prince William and Harry convene at the Queen’s Sandringham estate, Queen Elizabeth revealed the conclusions to

“Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family,” the monarch said in a statement on Saturday.

“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family,” the statement read. “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”

The new change will take effect in Spring 2020, according to a separate statement from Buckingham Palace.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments,” the statement said.

“They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties. With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty,” the statement continued.

“The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home. Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly- funded security,” the statement concluded.

The Queen previously shared a rare and emotional statement following the royal family’s 90-minute discussion on Monday, revealing that while she would have preferred to have the couple remain senior working royals, she supports her grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the Queen said in a statement. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. 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.

“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. 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.”

Palace sources told PEOPLE that the Queen ordered Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles to meet at her country home on Monday in order to “talk things through.”

Though it was previously reported that the Duchess of Sussex would join the meeting via phone from Canada, Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Tuesday that Meghan and Harry ultimately decided that it “wasn’t necessary” for her to do so.

An insider told PEOPLE that Meghan and Harry’s decision left senior royals “hurt” and “deeply disappointed.”

While a rift developed between Prince Harry and Prince William, stemming from a conversation where William warned his younger brother against things moving too fast with Meghan, many imagined the siblings working “shoulder-to-shoulder” as they got older, a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. However, that proved to be more complex in reality.

“When Meghan came around and she was interested in making changes, he welcomed it,” says a friend. When Archie was born, the couple’s focus shifted even more to “doing what’s right for their family,” adds another friend.

Though the particulars are still being worked out, Meghan and Harry want to focus on “their own causes with a little less constraint and still be supporting the institution and the monarch,” says a friend.


Duchess Meghan Discusses Gender Equality and Violence Against Indigenous Women During Vancouver Charity Visit
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Duchess Meghan Discusses Gender Equality and Violence Against Indigenous Women During Vancouver Charity Visit

With the Sussexes continuing to be a trending topic around the world, Duchess Meghan is making sure that the spotlight remains firmly fixed on what matters most—their work.

The Duchess of Sussex began a series of visits to community-focused women’s charities close to the couple’s temporary Vancouver Island home this week, stopping by at an organization that has spent the past 21 years promoting rights and equality for young girls.

Justice For Girls was one of a few visits made by Meghan to local charities and organizations in Vancouver on Tuesday, January 14, after a Sussex aide reached out to share that the duchess finds their work “credible and compelling” and was eager to learn more.

Over tea (and note taking), Meghan spent an hour listening to stories from staff at the non-profit organization and spoke to the group about her commitment to advancing gender equity and other women’s issues. “We were very moved by the duchess visiting us despite terrible weather conditions in Vancouver and her very recent arrival,” co-director Zoe Craig-Sparrow tells “We were struck by how engaged and informed she was on the issues we discussed, and how quickly and gracefully she put us at ease.”

“She was well-informed about the rights of girls and women and the need to challenge social inequality in a way that is holistic and global,” adds Craig-Sparrow. “Some of the issues we talked about included violence against girls; poverty and how it impacts access to education; girls’ rights in relation to the environment; leadership globally on issues of social and environmental justice; parallels between the struggles of girls in Canada with girls around the world; the need to approach social change in a holistic [and] integrated way, and how our proposed Justice for Girls Center aims to do just that.”

One of the key topics discussed during the meeting was Canada’s current and ongoing epidemic of violence against Indigenous girls and women, which has seen over 4,000 Indigenous women murdered or go missing across the country in the past 30 years. “This work is critically important in Canada where the impacts of colonization continue to harm indigenous girls and women through epidemic violence, social and economic inequality, environmental racism and denial of the rights of Indigenous peoples,” explains Craig-Sparrow, who was born and raised on Vancouver’s only First Nations band government, the Musqueam Indian Band.

Founded in 1999, Justice For Girls was created to address the needs and vulnerabilities of girls, particularly in relation to homelessness, poverty, and violence. As the charity underlines, true equality can only exist once these issues have been eliminated.

On the same day, Meghan also paid a visit to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, which provides a safe space offering everything from meals to internet access to women and children in one of Vancouver’s poorest areas.

For the the women working at Justice For Girls, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s plans to spend substantial time in the region makes for an exciting time. Says Craig-Sparrow, “[Meghan] will bring her commitment and intelligence to the issues she cares about, especially the rights of women and girls, and will use her position to help.”


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to Step Back from Royal Roles
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to Step Back from Royal Roles

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced their plans to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. Buckingham Palace shared a personal message from Harry and Meghan this afternoon that outlines their intention to “carve out a progressive new role within [the institution of the royal family].”

Within the statement, the royal couple outlines their plans to not only split their time between North America and United Kingdom, but also to “work to become financially independent.”

The announcement comes as rumors were circulating that Harry and Meghan plan to move to Canada in the future, but the official statement does not clarify if that is their intention, or if they will spend more time in the United States, where Meghan is from, and where her mother still lives.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” reads the statement.

Despite the shocking shift in their position within the royal family, the Sussexes are careful to point out that they are still committed to their duty not only to the Queen but also the Commonwealth, and their patronages.

Read the full statement from Buckingham Palace below:

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.

It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.

We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.

We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”


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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Baby Archie Are In Canada Right Now

Earlier today, Queen Elizabeth set off for her traditional weeks-long holiday vacation in Sandringham and Prince Philip traveled from Norfolk to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation (a release from Buckingham Palace assured the public that the hospital stay is “a precautionary measure” related to a pre-existing condition). But they aren’t the only royals on the move at the moment—today, a palace spokesperson revealed that Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and baby Archie are in Canada, adding that they would be taking some time to enjoy the country as a family.

“As has been reported, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are spending private family time in Canada. The decision to base themselves in Canada reflects the importance of this Commonwealth country to them both,” the announcement stated. “The Duke of Sussex has been a frequent visitor to Canada over many years, and it was also home to The Duchess for seven years before she became a member of the Royal Family. They are enjoying sharing the warmth of the Canadian people and the beauty of the landscape with their young son.”

The fact that Harry and Meghan are traveling abroad so close to the Christmas holiday is not a total surprise—the couple had previously announced that they planned to spend the holidays this year with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, though it wasn’t clear where. Given the timing of their current trip, it certainly could be possible that the Sussex family will be celebrating Christmas in America’s northern neighbor.

The choice to eschew Christmas with the royals may also, in part, be due to Harry and Meghan’s desire to step back from the public eye. In a documentary about the Sussexes’ tour of southern Africa Meghan discussed her struggle with the pressures of being a new mom under media scrutiny back in October, and the couple subsequently decided to take some time away from royal duties last month.

It was not announced when the family will be returning from their Canadian holiday.


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Meghan Markle’s Busy, Difficult Year Is Ending Quietly—So What’s Next?

It’s been an eventful year for the royal family, and maybe for the Duchess of Sussex most of all. From the eagerly awaited arrival of Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor to his (very private) christening and debut action packed overseas tour to South Africa, there hasn’t been a quiet moment for the new family. But while it has been a largely successful year for the new royal family, there have been challenges as Meghan navigates her new role, and some very public struggles for the couple. Meghan and Harry have had a rocky time in the tabloids, which has prompted them to take legal action, and there have been continued rumors of tensions between Meghan and Kate and a falling out between Harry and his brother William, with Harry revealing that they are on “different paths” in a recent documentary.

Rarely off the front pages, Meghan has kept incredibly busy in her first full year as a royal— and despite the criticism she has faced in some media outlets, biographer Andrew Morton says it’s been, by and large a successful year for the new duchess.

“Meghan has done everything that a new royal bride is expected to do,” said Morton, author of Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. “She has given birth to a beautiful baby, she has undertaken numerous engagements abroad and at home. She has made a number of competent speeches and has made the Queen laugh.”

But Morton also acknowledges, “It’s been a tough year for Meghan and there has been a lot of criticism. I think she’s been unfairly criticized from the outset just like Diana was and just like Fergie was. Meghan is no different. Royal women tend to be more criticised than royal men. They are scrutinised for what they wear how they look what they say.’

Over the past twelve months Meghan has carried out hundreds of domestic and overseas engagements, taken on new charitable commitments and launched exciting initiatives including her successful capsule collection for the charity Smart Works. She also edited the September issue of British Vogue while on maternity leave, showing off
an impressive work ethic that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Queen.

“2019 was a tremendously productive year for the Duchess of Sussex,” said Christine Ross, editor of the site Meghan’s Mirror. “In her first full year of being a Duchess, Meghan has embraced her role in a powerful way. The Duchess of Sussex’s large-scale initiatives over the year showcased her dedication to her charitable patronages and the causes she is passionate about.”

Amid everything there have been rumors of a rift between the Sussexes and the Cambridges, and speculation that Meghan and Kate don’t get along. After moving from Kensington Palace to their new home Frogmore Cottage in Windsor ahead of Archie’s birth in May, the Sussexes set up their own household at Buckingham Palace, further distancing themselves from the Cambridges. In June they left the Royal Foundation, which Harry set up with Kate and William, to start their own philanthropic venture, the Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That organization launches next year and will have a particular focus outside the UK in the Commonwealth and in the States.

The Commonwealth was also a focus of their tour of South Africa in September, and was a chance for the couple to show baby Archie to the world. In a historic moment Archie met Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, becoming the youngest royal to participate in official tour duties. While the tour was deemed a triumph for the couple, it ended with Harry’s bombshell announcement that Meghan plans to sue the *Mail on Sunday* for breach of copyright after the newspaper published excerpts of a private letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle. The couple also opened up to their friend journalist Tom Bradby about the difficulty of their roles, with Meghan revealing that she was “existing, not living.” From being attacked over her extravagant baby shower, to the cost of the extensive refurbishments at the couple’s house and their use of private jets over the summer, Meghan has frequently come under fire.

“Meghan is smart and she showed her purpose at her wedding by the people she invited,” Morton said. “She invited people she didn’t know well – Oprah, George and Amal Clooney the big Hollywood hitters. It was a clever move, because they are the ones who have stood up for her when she has been attacked.

But even with A-list support behind her, as a former actress and an American Meghan in some ways remains an outsider within the royal family, says Morton. ‘I don’t think people have given her latitude for being American,’ says Morton. ‘Plus it’s a difficult family to marry into. The Royal Family is full of traditions and rituals such as who walks into a room first, who curtsies first. Things that are nonsensical to an outsider. The whole etiquette of royalty is hard to get grips with. Just because she seems competent and was a successful actress doesn’t mean it’s been easy for her. Nothing could have prepared her for everything that has happened.’

Now on a sabbatical from royal duties until January, Meghan, Harry, and Archie spent their first Thanksgiving as a family in the States with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, and are now enjoying some down time. Given their whirlwind year it’s no wonder they are trading a busy royal Christmas for a more low key family affair.

Morton points out while her own family is limited to Ragland, Meghan has the support of the Queen, the Prince of Wales and her religion to turn to when she needs it.

“Her faith is important to her as it is to the Queen and Prince Charles and I think one of the reasons they get along is that there is a spirituality and sense of faith about her that is real and apparent,” Morton said. “I’m sure like the Queen she draws on her religion in times of need.”

Looking to next year Morton predicts another royal baby and a busy itinerary for the hard working couple. “One will hope for baby number two to complete their family, and I think we’ll see them travel and fundraise around the world. There will be an international element to this couple as Commonwealth ambassadors, they’re in a good position to go around the world and I think things look very positive. There are storm clouds ahead though. and court cases are coming up that will be unpleasant. You also wonder, is she ever going to be reconciled with her father?’

For now, they remain on sabbatical and under-the-radar and planning a low-key Christmas before hitting the ground running in the new year. Like the Queen, who also faced challenges this year, Meghan may look forward to a smoother 2020.


Filed in Charities News

Behind the scenes with Meghan Markle: Duchess tells Bryony Gordon how vulnerability is one of humanity’s greatest strengths

Back from her African tour, the Duchess of Sussex pays a visit to a project for disadvantaged women – and tells Bryony Gordon how she encouraged Prince Harry to speak openly about his mental health

In a small, sparse room at the back of a bakery on the urban streets of Camden, north London, the Duchess of Sussex is comforting a crying woman.

Tanya’s tears fall over the scars that will remain on her cheeks for the rest of her life; stark reminders of the violent ex partner who is now serving a lengthy prison sentence after he stabbed her repeatedly.

Tanya is explaining what this, the bakery that doubles as a social enterprise, has done for her since that terrible day back in 2016. By a cruel twist of fate it was International Women’s Day when her attacker lay in wait for her outside the doors of the London university she was studying at.

Tanya had been a victim of domestic violence for a decade. “Society judges women for staying in abusive relationships,” she says to me and the Duchess. “But I don’t ever feel judged here. I feel I can be free. I feel I can be myself.”

Here is the Luminary Bakery, a small, grass roots organisation that helps to empower disadvantaged women through training and employment opportunities.
Continue reading Behind the scenes with Meghan Markle: Duchess tells Bryony Gordon how vulnerability is one of humanity’s greatest strengths