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Duchess Meghan Makes Surprise Visit to Vancouver Women’s Center Amid Royal Drama

Next stop, Vancouver! Duchess Meghan made an unannounced visit to a women’s center in Canada on Tuesday, January 14, in her first public appearance since stepping down from the British royal family.

Related: Duchess Meghan Through the Years

“Look who we had tea with today!” the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre captioned a photo of the retired actress, 38, with a group of eight other women on its Facebook page. “The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community.”

Meghan was all smiles in the picture while wearing a beige sweater, black jeans and knee-high boots, a much more casual ensemble than the ones she has worn at royal engagements.

Related: Harry and Meghan’s New Roles: Everything We Know

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre is a nonprofit organization that was founded in March 1978 and aims to “provide basic needs and positive change for women and children” in Vancouver, according to its Facebook page. It provides nutritious meals, laundry services, showers, phone and computer access and clothing, in addition to various support services.

The Suits alum’s visit came hours after she was spotted boarding a seaplane to Vancouver, which marked the first time she has broken cover since she and Prince Harry laid out plans for their future.

Duchess Meghan Makes Surprise Visit to Vancouver Women’s Center Amid Royal Drama
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visit to Canada House, in London, UK on January 7, 2020. Beretta/Sims/Shutterstock

“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,” Meghan and Harry, 35, announced in a statement on their Instagram account on January 8. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

Related: Harry and Meghan: A Timeline of Their Relationship

The Duke of Sussex discussed the bombshell change with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, his father, Prince Charles, and his brother, Prince William, at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, on Monday, January 13, while Meghan and the couple’s 8-month-old son, Archie, stayed in Canada.

The duchess previously lived in Toronto, where she filmed Suits, and famously made her first-ever public appearance with Harry in the Ontario capital at the 2017 Invictus Games. They married the following year and welcomed their son in May 2019.

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