Meghan Markle Visits Refuge in Canada to Discuss Issues Affecting Women

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, visited a women's center in Vancouver in her first public engagement since she and Prince Harry announced they intended to "step back" from their roles as senior members of the royal family.

Meghan was pictured boarding a sea plane at Victoria Harbor Airport on Vancouver Island on Tuesday, a day after Queen Elizabeth II said she had agreed to a "period of transition" allowing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to live in Canada.

She then headed to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, which provides support to women and children in need, including hot meals, clothing and computer access.

The centre's Facebook page later posted a picture of Meghan with a group of women in a kitchen, writing alongside it: "Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community."

Newsweek subscription offers >

The center has been contacted for comment.

The visit fueled speculation that Harry and Meghan may settle in Vancouver, where they spent an expected Christmas break with their 8-month-old son Archie, after the queen issued a statement saying she had given her blessing for the couple to split their time between the U.K. and Canada.

John Hogan, the Premier of British Columbia, suggested the couple would be welcome to set up a home in the province.

Newsweek subscription offers >

He also joked that Meghan, a former actress who lived in Toronto when she starred in Suits, could appear on Netflix's Riverdale, which is filmed in Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia.

"If they want to come back and put down roots here, I'm sure I can find something for Harry to do," Horgan said on Monday, according to CTV News.

"Wouldn't it be great to have a royal who named their child Archie on 'Riverdale'? Writes itself!"

Meghan harry
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react after their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. Daniel Leal-Olivas/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan returned to Canada last week after she and Harry issued a bombshell statement announcing that they intended to step back from their roles as senior royals, work to become financially independent and split their time between the U.K. and North America.

Harry remained in the U.K. and on Monday, met with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Prince William at the monarch's private estate in Norfolk, U.K., to discuss the couple's future in the royal family.

Following the talks, the Queen issued a statement saying she was "entirely supportive" of Harry and Megan's desire for a "new life," although she conceded that she would have preferred they remained full-time working royals.

"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," she said in the statement.

"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."

The chart below, provided by Statista, shows how the British public perceive the treatment of the royal family by the media.

Royal Family Media Treatment Statista
How the U.K. public perceive the treatment of the royal family by the media. Statista
Meghan Markle Visits Refuge in Canada to Discuss Issues Affecting Women | World