Harry & Meghan Return to Royal Work at Canada House

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Yesterday it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would carry out an engagement today at Canada House. The press release shared advised that the couple planned on thanking the High Commissioner for Canada’s “warmth and hospitality” during their roughly six-week stay, as well as viewing a new art exhibit on display and meeting with staff who work on UK-Canada partnerships.

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Before we get to the actual engagement, the press release itself caused some raised eyebrows on the grounds that it’s not typical to formally thank a country for a private trip. Some argue that in specifically mentioning the holiday in a professional guidance, the couple are themselves blurring the lines between personal and public and sending mixed signals after their own statements last year complaining about the rigors of royal life. Their actions have been contrasted with those of other royals who frequently take holidays abroad, but who never offer a public thanks to those host countries after returning to the UK.

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To take this piece by piece, let’s start with the Sussexes’ decision to publicly reference their holiday. Critics are correct that it’s not typical, and no one would have found it strange had the couple remained mum on their holiday despite reporting that they were holed up in a mansion on Vancouver Island. They are also correct that other members of the RF don’t really do this. However, what differentiates this trip from other holiday spots is the fact that Canada is a Commonwealth country, Meghan herself lived in Toronto for seven years, and there are rumors that a North American tour and/or Victoria becoming the next location for a future Invictus Games is on the table.

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None of those necessarily dictate a public thank you, but they do offer some context for why the couple may have decided to treat this differently than, say, the Cambridges returning from Mustique.

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I would also argue that I don’t think the Sussexes’ primary issue with their press coverage is that it’s an inherent invasion of privacy, so much as that the tone and nature of the reporting is too often vitriolic and based on falsehoods. That’s a slightly different issue. I think the question of privacy often envelopes them due to how Archie’s christening was handled last year, but I’m still of the opinion that was a move intended to set a precedent that Archie will be raised as a private citizen and thus expectations of him should differ from those of the Cambridge children. Other incidents of the Sussexes demanding privacy, such as Meghan attending Wimbledon last summer, are unsubstantiated.

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Personally, I didn’t think much of it when I first saw the release and was semi-surprised when I saw the backlash to it online. (Semi-surprised only because there is literally always backlash when the Sussexes do anything at this point). As I think I made clear in yesterday’s EOY recap of Meghan, I think the couple has made missteps, but there are also plenty of occasions in which I agree with them and think they deserve the benefit of the doubt. As of right now, I’m inclined to offer them grace on this one – I don’t think this is a big deal, nor do I think it’s indicative of hypocrisy.

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So, back to today. The couple’s visit to Canada House was in fact their second stop of the day. Before arriving, they made a private visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen so that Meghan could get a progress report and check in. It’s possible photos will later be shared, or that a new initiative with that project is in the works, so TBD.

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The couple was warmly welcomed back to Canada House, having first visited in March of last year for Commonwealth Day. Meghan noted that she thought Vancouver was “so beautiful,” but added that it rained quite a bit during their stay.

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On the fashion front, Meghan wore a camel coat that is believed to be Stella McCartney, but I don’t think that’s been confirmed just yet. [Update: the coat has been identified as Reiss.] There’s also no official ID on her sweater, but her brown satin skirt is Massimo Dutti. I thought she looked great, and I love the skirt, so this is a win in my book.

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And while I don’t typically like to chime in women’s weight (or anyone’s, for that matter), I will make an exception today to note that it does look like Meghan has lost quite a bit of it since we last saw her in November. One the one hand that’s not surprising given that we’re now eight months out from Archie’s birth, but I would imagine that was the opposite of most people’s experience over the holidays! She looked great in the autumn, and she looks great now, so good for her.

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It’s unclear when we’ll next see Meghan or Kate, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a surprise appearance from the latter tomorrow or next week. Kate has been returning to work after the Christmas holiday earlier and earlier in recent years, so I doubt we’ll be waiting long, and given Meghan’s work ethic, I expect we’ll see her again soon.

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