Tyler Perry helped Meghan and Prince Harry "during a complicated time," a source tells PEOPLE

By Stephanie PetitSimon Perry and Elizabeth Leonard
August 21, 2020 01:57 PM
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty; Cindy Ord/Getty

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry won't forget Tyler Perry's generosity.

Before settling down in their "permanent home" in Santa Barbara, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stayed at Perry's Los Angeles estate with 1-year-old son Archie as they transitioned out of their senior royal roles.

"They're really grateful to Tyler Perry for his kindness," a source close to the couple tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "They have endless gratitude to him for helping them during a complicated time."

"With COVID and as they were stepping back from their royal duties, he provided them a safe haven," the source adds.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
| Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA Images

During their time in L.A. — Meghan's hometown where her mother, Doria Ragland, still resides — they quietly spent their evenings at home as a family but also found a way to help out in their new community amid the coronavirus pandemic by delivering meals to those in need through Project Angel Food.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

"What Meghan said is she wanted to show Harry Los Angeles through the eyes of philanthropy. It’s just beautiful,” Richard Ayoub, Project Angel Food’s executive director, previously told PEOPLE. "There’s obviously a great deal of love and selflessness between them."

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Last month, Harry and Meghan headed 95 miles north and settled in a nine-bedroom mansion, reportedly purchased for $14 million.

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The parents hope they can give Archie "as normal a life as possible" there.

"They were craving a smaller community and a slower pace," says a source close to the couple. "Montecito is very mellow, a charming little town and the Santa Barbara [area] offers an ideal lifestyle that they’re looking forward to. They feel the new house is a place of peace — and it offers inspiration to build Archewell [foundation], which they’re focused on.”