Meghan Markle is out and about in Canada!
On Thursday afternoon — just over a week after she and husband Prince Harry announced that they are “stepping back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family” — Meghan, 38, was seen at the Victoria International Airport.
In photos obtained by the Daily Mail, Meghan is pictured in the driver’s seat of a Land Rover Discovery, wearing a Soia & Kyo coat, black beanie and dark sunglasses as she makes her way to the airport to pick up her close friend Heather Dorak, who is the founder of Pilates Platinum — a studio Meghan attended in L.A. Dorak and her husband Matt Cohen also attended Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding in 2018.
Meghan has had several good friends visit her in Canada over the past couple months. Meghan’s former Suits co-star Abigail Spencer was spotted on a New Year’s Day hike with Meghan and Harry. And actress Janina Gavankar snapped the adorable photo of Archie that appeared on the Duke and Duchess’ holiday card. Meghan’s good friend Jessica Mulroney, who lives in Toronto, was also on-hand to watch Archie while Meghan and Harry traveled to the U.K. to make their big announcement.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their statement last week on Instagram, announcing their intent to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”
Though the particulars are still being worked out, Meghan and Harry, 35, want to focus on “their own causes with a little less constraint and still be supporting the institution and the monarch,” a friend told PEOPLE this week.
A source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story that Meghan and Harry “knew they were going to hit the nuclear button” on their royal exit as soon as their son Archie, now 8 months old, was born.
While a rift developed between Harry and older brother Prince William — stemming from a conversation where William, 37, warned Harry against things moving too fast with Meghan — many imagined the siblings working “shoulder-to-shoulder” as they got older, according to a source. But that proved to be more complex in reality.
“When Meghan came around and she was interested in making changes, he welcomed it,” said a friend. And when Archie arrived, the couple’s focus shifted even more to “doing what’s right for their family,” added another pal.
While Meghan and Archie are in Canada, Harry has remained in England to continue discussions with the palace about the big move.
On Monday, Harry and William traveled to Sandringham for a family summit with their grandmother, the Queen, and father Prince Charles to discuss Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down as senior royals.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the Queen said in a statement after a 90-minute discussion. “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,” the Queen’s statement continued. “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.”