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Duchess Meghan Spotted for 1st Time Since Controversial Decision to ‘Step Back’ From Royal Duties

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex Spotted First Time
Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. ANL/Shutterstock

Moving on! Duchess Meghan was spotted for the first time since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their big plans to “step back” from their senior royal duties.

Related: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s Drama: Everything to Know

The 38-year-old Suits alum boarded a seaplane from Vancouver Island on Tuesday, January 14, Us Weekly can confirm. In photos obtained by The Sun, Meghan was spotted keeping warm in a large parka coat as she boarded the flight to Vancouver. Prince Harry, for his part, is expected to join Meghan after he attends the Rugby League World Cup on Thursday, January 16.

The couple first made waves on Wednesday, January 8, when they announced that “after many months of reflection and internal discussions” they would be carving out a “progressive new role within this institution.”

“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the pair’s shared statement, posted to Instagram, read. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

The statement, which caused controversy, pointed out that Harry, 35, and Meghan would be splitting their time between the U.K. and North America.

Related: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Take a Step Back From Senior Duties: Everything We Know

Since shaking up the royal family — and releasing a joint statement outlining the pair’s revised duties in relation to the monarchy — Meghan returned to Canada.

She reunited with the couple’s 8-month-old son, Archie, who was being watched by a nanny and the Suits alum’s best friend Jessica Mulroney — following the trio’s holiday hiatus in December 2019.

Prince William, who has been at odds with his little brother for some time, didn’t see any of this coming, a source told Us.

“William was blindsided by Harry and Meghan’s decision and statement,” an insider revealed. “There’s still a rift between the two brothers. It’s sad because when they were younger, William would be the first person Harry would go to with big news like this.”

A second source told Us exclusively that members of the family, including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Cambridge, 37, were not only shocked by the announcement itself, but William was unhappy with the timing of its release.

“Harry and Meghan rubbed salt into the wounds by making the huge announcement a day before [Duchess] Kate‘s birthday,” the source said. “It hasn’t gone down well with William.”

Buckingham Palace reacted with an official statement on January 8. “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement read. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

Related: Most Shocking Royal Family Feuds in History

Her Majesty quickly called an emergency family meeting to handle the situation. “The Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Cambridge have directed their teams to work at pace with governments and the Sussexes’ office to find workable solutions, and this is expected to take days, not weeks,” a palace source told Us.

The 93-year-old monarch broke her silence after the meeting on Monday, January 13.

“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,” the statement read, noting the pair have “made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.”

The queen concluded: “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.”

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