The Duke and Duchess of Sussex make their first royal outing of the year — to thank Canada for hosting them during their holiday getaway

By Simon Perry
January 07, 2020 10:30 AM
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped out in London on Tuesday after returning from their nearly two-month hiatus from royal work — to thank Canadians for hosting them on their getaway.

The royal parents spent most of their time off in Canada, where they were having what sources close to them said was a much needed break with baby Archie. After making a stop at the Hubb Community Kitchen (one of Meghan’s first royal causes) to wish the women a happy New Year and “get an update,” a spokeswoman said, they headed to Canada House in London, where they met Janice Charette, High Commissioner to the U.K., to show their appreciation for what the couple’s office said was “the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay.”

Harry and Meghan, who wore a toffee wool sweater by Massimo Dutti, a brown satin midi skirt by Massimo Dutti and matching velvet pumps with a camel coat by Reiss, were all smiles as they arrived at Canada House. They met with Charette in the “British Columbia Room,” which they chose because they stayed on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, during their family break with Archie.

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Chris Jackson/Getty

On the way into Canada House the couple met some of the employees who were standing outside. Harry asked them if they’d all had good holidays.

“He said it was raining a lot of the time in Vancouver,” says Jamie Weare, from Ontario — but one of her colleagues pointed out Harry laughed so he may have been joking.

Meghan Markle
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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“Meghan said it was beautiful,” Weare adds. “They seemed really relaxed and happy.”

Adds her colleague Sumira Osmin, “They are just beautiful and just their aura…they are always so positive and very friendly.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Chris Jackson/Getty

They also used the occasion to view a special exhibition by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati and chat with members of the High Commission team who support the partnership between the U.K. and Canada.

“Today’s visit provided an opportunity to discuss some of the common priorities and values shared by Canada and Their Royal Highnesses, such as a commitment to conservation and fighting the challenges of climate change, supporting the economic and democratic empowerment of women and girls, and encouraging young people and youth leaders in Canada and across the Commonwealth to actively engage in the social, economic, and environmental challenges of their generation,” Charette said.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty

Harry, Meghan and Archie spent Thanksgiving and Christmas on Vancouver Island, where they had valuable time with Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland and close friends who came to visit them at their remote vacation home.

It was there that the couple posed for their family Christmas greetings and an adorable photo — taken by Meghan — of proud dad Harry and little Archie were captured.

The palace confirmed that the royals were “spending private family time in Canada” during the holiday season. While out for a hike on New Year’s Day, they helped a young couple struggling with a selfie stick by taking their photo.

Meghan Markle
Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty
Meghan Markle
Chris Jackson/Getty

“We took a little picnic out and we were finishing up and trying to get some selfies with the nice backdrop when a woman came up to us and asked if we wanted her to take our photo,” Asymina Kantorowicz, 29, told PEOPLE.

Meghan Markle

RELATED: Archie’s New Photo with Prince Harry Has a Sweet Hidden Message — and a Surprise Photographer!

Prince Harry and son Archie
Sussex Royals

The couple are now planning the rest of their year, which will see them continue setting up their new foundation that will be the vehicle for much of their charity work, and are looking ahead to the latest Invictus Games, for wounded, sick and injured service members and veterans, which takes place in the Netherlands in May.

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The last public event that each royal took part in was when Harry attended the inaugural Onside Awards in London on Nov. 17 and Meghan’s appearance at a Remembrance Day event on Nov. 10.

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