Today, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were back at work as they went to Canada House on a thank you mission! Crowds had gathered to see the couple on their first official engagement of 2020; the last time we saw Harry and Meghan in person was on Remembrance Sunday.
Prince Harry and Meghan wanted to thank the Canadians for the great time they had on their private break, in which they spent time with the Duchess’ mother Doria.
The Duke and Duchess chatted with the High Commissioner on a range of topics over tea and Nanaimo bars – a chocolate, custard and coconut cake from the city of Nanaimo on Victoria Island.
High Commissioner Janice Charette told the press about the visit: “We talked about a few of those things, whether it is challenges relating to gender equality, gender empowerment, issues of homelessness whether that’s due to mental health stigma, issues of veterans’ homelessness, issues related to the Invictus Games, and challenges of conservation and climate change,” she said.
“The purpose of their visit was to come here and really say thank you to Canada for what I think was a really wonderful holiday period they spent in Canada. I think what they said to us in the conversation was they enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Canada but also the wonderful people of Canada,” she added. “I think it has a special place in their hearts.”
They posed for a photo with staff, and chatted to them about their love of Canada. “Anyone here from British Colombia?” the Duke asked.
A few hands in the crowd went up and he said: “What a beautiful place you live in.” It is thought the Sussexes spent time on Vancouver Island during their break.
Harry also said thanks to the group, before adding jokingly: “Not that you had anything much to do with it! But the warmth and hospitality we were shown while there was unbelievable, and that’s exactly why we chose to go out there.”
The redhead prince also joked that his wife was going to talk to them in French!
Harry and Meghan speak to staff at Canada Hpuse and thank Canadians for their wonderful holiday. pic.twitter.com/gbUopdspoo
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) January 7, 2020
Refusing and laughing, Meghan – dressed in hues of brown – was full of praise for her one-time home: “I want to say happy new year and thank you, and as my husband said, my goodness it was just such an incredible time we were able to have there, and with our son too.
“And just to be able to take in the warmth that we experienced from the people, but also just to walk around and just see the beauty of Canada.
“To see Archie go ‘ahhh’ when you walk by, and just see how stunning it is – so it meant a lot to us.”
You can read about the Duchess’ outfit on our sister site, here.
Jamie Weare, a member of staff at the High Commission, reports that the Duke had told him they enjoyed their trip but complained that “it rained all the time.”
Finally, they then headed to view an art exhibition at Canada House, entitled ‘Avatars Aliens Ancestors’, which seeks to highlight the importance of Indigenous art. Many pieces are by Canadian indigenous artist, Skawennati.
This is also open to the public six days a week.
The Sussexes last visited Canada House on Commonwealth Day in March 2019, where they met and spoke with young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, and business and academia. This was one of Meghan’s last engagements before she took maternity leave.
We also learnt that the couple dropped in to the Hubb Kitchen earlier today; Harry and Meghan got an update on their work. An aide said, according to Hello: “She just wanted to check in and the Duke accompanied her.”
The Duchess’ worked on the ‘Together’ cookbook with the women of the kitchen, who were all affected by the Grenfell fire. With some 50 recipes inside, the book was a hit and made more than £500,000 for survivors of the tragedy.
Here is a short round-up video from the High Commission to mark the visit:
An honour to welcome TRH the Duke & Duchess of Sussex to #CanadaHouse for their 2nd visit in less than year, providing an opportunity to discuss some of our common priorities & shared values such as climate change & supporting the empowerment of women, girls, & youth! pic.twitter.com/CpwlKaX3U5
— CanadianUK (@CanadianUK) January 7, 2020