Friday, 28 January 2022

Harry and Meghan: Prince arrives in Canada ahead of new chapter

The Duke of Sussex has arrived in Canada as he prepares for a new life away from royal duties. Prince Harry landed on Vancouver Island on Tuesday morning to be reunited with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, and their eight-month-old son

Archie.

It comes after the duke said he was "taking a leap of faith" in stepping back as a senior royal, but "there really was no other option".

From the spring, the Sussexes will no longer be full-time working royals.

They will stop using their HRH titles, no longer carry out royal duties or military appointments and no longer formally represent the Queen.

The new arrangement was unveiled on Saturday, following days of talks with the Queen and other senior royals including Harry's older brother, the Duke of Cambridge.

It came after the Sussexes announced they would step back as "senior" royals and intended to split their time between the UK and North America.

Last October, Prince Harry and Meghan publicly revealed their struggles under the media spotlight.

Prince Harry landed in Vancouver on Tuesday morning before travelling to Victoria International Airport on Vancouver Island.

The duchess has been staying on Canada's west coast with her son, after briefly returning to the UK earlier this month following an extended six-week Christmas break on Vancouver Island with Prince Harry.

On Monday, Harry attended the UK-Africa Investment Summit - likely to be one of his last official royal engagements.

After holding a number of private meetings - including with Prime Minister Boris Johnson - the duke flew from Heathrow Airport to Canada, BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said.

He has been apart from wife Meghan for more than 10 days, after she flew back to Canada earlier this month.

On Monday, a beaming Meghan and Archie were photographed walking her dogs, a beagle and a black Labrador, in a park on Vancouver Island. Before she married, Meghan regularly featured her pets on her Instagram account.

Archie, who was born in May, has not been back to the UK since the family's Christmas break on Vancouver Island.

Will the Sussexes find peace on Vancouver Island?
By Sophie Long, BBC North America correspondent

The storm has passed and the sun that has melted most of the snow has revealed just how beautiful Vancouver Island is. Now I can understand why the royal couple might want to live here.

The people are relaxed and welcoming. There is a sense of happiness and pride that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex want to come here and share in the surroundings that islanders are so proud of.

The couple have come here because they want to have a more balanced and peaceful life.

One woman tells me they deserve as much space as anyone and she thinks they'll find it here - as long as the press leave them alone. The implication being that the Canadian public won't be the problem.

Ross, who was born and raised here but has British roots, says he doesn't think they'll be hassled. "Canadians might give them a wave," he says, "but they won't be jumping up and down."

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are continuing with their royal schedule. For the first time, the couple hosted an evening reception for world leaders on behalf of the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Monday.

On Tuesday, Prince William attended a United for Wildlife event at St James's Palace.

UfW was founded by the Royal Foundation, a joint venture between William, Kate and Harry, in 2014, but Harry departed the foundation shortly after he and Meghan split their household from Kensington Palace.

Prince William called on organisations to help end the "abhorrent crime" of illegal wildlife trade during a speech he gave to the UfW meeting at St James's Palace.

"There are still too many criminals who know that they can find a market and believe they can act with impunity," he said.

'The truth from me'
Buckingham Palace's statement on Saturday night followed weeks of speculation about what Harry and Meghan's new roles within the Royal Family would involve, after the couple's surprise announcement they wanted to step back as senior royals.

In his first speech since the revelation, Harry said he wanted people "to hear the truth from me... not as a prince, or a duke, but as Harry".

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