Meghan Markle 'Felt So Much Less Stressed' Returning to Canada: 'It Was a Tremendous Shift,' Source Says

"She's keeping a low profile while things settle down," an insider tells PEOPLE

Meghan Markle is adjusting well to life back in North America.

With the decision to step down as senior members of the royal family behind them, Meghan and Prince Harry have begun to put down roots in Canada as they look to the year ahead.

“It was just this tremendous shift when Meghan returned to Canada [after their announcement],” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “You could tell that she felt so much less stressed.”

The couple — and their 9-month-old son Archie — have been staying in a $14 million mansion on Vancouver Island, with Meghan enjoying the scenery on hikes with her beagle Guy and the couple’s Labrador. “They are enjoying living a quiet life,” an insider says. “They go for long walks, they do yoga, and Meghan cooks. They are real homebodies who love to chill out with Archie and the dogs.”

Megan Markle
Samir Hussein/WireImage
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Samir Hussein/WireImage

Being on the west coast of Canada means Meghan is much closer to her circle of friends — she was all smiles picking up pal Heather Dorak at the Victoria International Airport on Jan. 16 — and her Los Angeles-based mother, Doria Ragland.

“She definitely gets a lot of her strength from her mother,” says a close friend.

Ragland, a social worker and yoga instructor who lives in Los Angeles, also spent the holidays with Meghan and Harry in the weeks leading up to the couple’s announcement that they are stepping down as senior royals. And she’s been an important source of support ever since.

Preparations for Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan

Her former Suits co-star Abigail Spencer also visited and went on a New Year’s Day hike with Meghan and Harry. Actress Janina Gavankar snapped the adorable photo of Archie that appeared on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s holiday card. And Meghan’s good friend Jessica Mulroney, who lives in Toronto, has also come to see her and Archie.

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Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie. Toby Melville/WireImage

Most of all, Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, are enjoying their time as mom and dad to Archie.

“Archie is the priority. It’s very much still about taking care of him and putting the family first. He’s a happy kid—he loves to laugh,” the close friend says. “Archie and Harry have such a good time together. And Meghan is a great mom. She’s very much about tending to him. They are trying to live their life as regular parents.”

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