Majority of Britons say Harry and Meghan treated Queen ‘shoddily’

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The Queen has been treated ‘shoddily’ by Harry and Meghan and should not ask them to stay in the UK, the public believes.

A Daily Mail poll also suggests there will be deep anger if the couple keep their titles and privileges while effectively quitting as royals and moving to North America.

A majority said Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, should be evicted from their Windsor cottage and be made to pay back the £2.4million of public money spent on refurbishing it.

A Daily Mail poll suggests there will be deep anger if Harry and Meghan keep their titles and privileges while effectively quitting as royals and moving to North America

A Daily Mail poll suggests there will be deep anger if Harry and Meghan keep their titles and privileges while effectively quitting as royals and moving to North America

 

The Queen (pictured driving back to Sandringham today) has been treated 'shoddily' by Harry and Meghan and should not ask them to stay in the UK, the public believes

The Queen (pictured driving back to Sandringham today) has been treated ‘shoddily’ by Harry and Meghan and should not ask them to stay in the UK, the public believes

Meghan is blamed for the couple’s bombshell move, with just 4 per cent saying it was Harry. The poll came as:

  • Sources said Prince Charles fears Harry is at ‘tipping point’ and vowed to rally round him;
  • Meghan caught a BA flight to Vancouver to return to the island mansion where she stayed for Christmas and was believed to have left Archie with his nanny 
  • Harry remained in Britain to deal with the crisis as aides said talks between the royal households over the couple’s future role were ‘progressing well’;
  • The Queen laid down a 72-hour ultimatum for Palace officials to thrash out a solution for Harry and Meghan’s future;
  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are ‘hopeful’ talks about their role will be concluded swiftly;
  • The Palace strongly denied ITV presenter Tom Bradby’s claim that Harry and Meghan were being ‘driven out’ of the monarchy; 
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab faced being dragged into the debate over continued taxpayer support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex;
  • It emerged that the couple have been advised by Barack and Michelle Obama;
  • Prominent black Britons claimed Meghan was driven out of Britain by racism.

The poll reveals that both the duke and duchess have paid a heavy price in popularity since making the announcement on Wednesday night.

Queen gives courtiers 72 hours to resolve Royal rift

The Queen has ordered the new stripped-back roles of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to be resolved within the next 72 hours

The Queen has ordered the new stripped-back roles of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to be resolved within the next 72 hours 

The Queen has ordered the new stripped-back roles of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to be determined within the next 72 hours. 

Her Majesty has reportedly also instructed officials to come up with a blueprint that could potentially apply to younger generations of the Royal Family. 

The Queen wants the crisis to last no longer than the six days that it took for Prince Andrew to announce his stepping back from royal duties after his car crash BBC Newsnight interview, the Telegraph reports.  

Her Majesty has reportedly also instructed courtiers to turn the crisis into an opportunity, and to hash out a ‘workable solution’ to the issue. 

According to the publication, the Queen has asked for a blueprint that is workable not just for Harry and Meghan but could also apply to following generations including Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.   

Meghan’s public rating is now a net minus 2 per cent, down 22 points in three months. She is in a lowly tenth place among the royals, below Sophie Wessex.

Harry, who not long ago was the nation’s most loved prince, has seen his rating slump by 20 points to fifth.

He has been overtaken by his hard-working aunt, Princess Anne.

Asked whether they prefer Harry or William, the public chooses William ahead of his younger brother by 65 to 35.

William has now overtaken the Queen as the nation’s favourite royal.

His wife Kate is further ahead than ever. She trumps Meghan in the popularity stakes by 73 percentage points to 27.

The poll by JL Partners shows that the public has no wish to stop Harry and Meghan making a new life for themselves and Archie away from Britain.

A total of 50 per cent believe they have the right to do so, against 36 per cent who say they do not. And 46 per cent think the Royal Family will not be better off without them. But the public is clear that Harry and Meghan cannot eat their royal cake and have it.

And the Queen’s subjects are appalled at the way her grandson and his American wife have treated her. There is deep sympathy for the 93-year-old monarch at a time when her husband Prince Philip, 98, is frail and recovering from illness. A total of 60 per cent say Harry and Meghan have treated her ‘shoddily’. Only 23 per cent reckon they have not.

Some 72 per cent of people say the Queen should let them go abroad, and just 16 per cent say she should ask them to stay. The survey shows that the public’s attitude to Harry and Los Angeles-born Meghan is not ‘good riddance’.

Meghan Markle embracing Ahlam Saeid at the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London on Tuesday, before she and Harry plunged the Royal Family into crisis by announcing they were 'stepping back' from their official duties

Meghan Markle embracing Ahlam Saeid at the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London on Tuesday, before she and Harry plunged the Royal Family into crisis by announcing they were ‘stepping back’ from their official duties

In the first glimpse of what their 'progressive' new role could look like, the couple met, embraced and laughed with the women who set up the community kitchen in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy

In the first glimpse of what their ‘progressive’ new role could look like, the couple met, embraced and laughed with the women who set up the community kitchen in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy

Meghan and Harry ‘hopeful’ talks around their future will be concluded swiftly 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are ‘hopeful’ that crunch talks determining their new stripped-back role in the Royal Family can be thrashed out ‘sooner rather than later’, a source revealed tonight.

The Duke and Duchess’s announcement to ‘step back’ from their official duties and become ‘financially independent’ has thrown the Family into crisis, with the public demanding answers as to what their ‘progressive’ new role would be.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have held discussions to diffuse the situation and ordered Palace officials to quickly develop a ‘workable solution’ for Meghan and Harry’s future.

The three senior Royals closed ranks following Wednesday night’s bombshell Instagram statement, but today a steely-faced Her Majesty broke cover to drive her car through Sandringham – a move choreographed to play down the crisis and show she was continuing her activities as normal.

But behind closed doors, officials are working furiously to draw up a blueprint for Meghan and Harry’s future role. 

A source close to the couple claimed Friday night negotiations between the Palace and the Sussex household are ‘progressing well’, in consultation with both the UK and Canadian government. 

They said: ‘They, like everyone, are hopeful this can all be worked out, sooner rather than later.

‘It is in everyone’s interest for this to be figured out, and figured out quickly, but not at the expense of the outcome.’  

Some 60 per cent think the pair should hand over the keys of Frogmore Cottage near Windsor Castle, while 28 per cent say they should keep it.

And 60 per cent believe they should also stump up the £2.4million cost of the controversial refurbishment of the home. Only 25 per cent say they should not have to find the money.

An even bigger proportion, 76 per cent, reckon Harry and Meghan should not get another penny in support from Buckingham Palace or the Government – or Metropolitan Police protection – if they live abroad. Only 13 per cent say they should be able to retain these entitlements.

Sources suggest the couple may be allowed to keep their royal titles. But if the decision was left to public opinion, they would be stripped of them, especially if they are making money from their new ‘independent lives’.

A total of 54 per cent want Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, to lose the right of accession, while 28 per cent think he should keep it.

And 47 per cent of people say the couple should give up their right to have the HRH initials in front of their names. Some 40 per cent say they have the right to retain them. But these views harden if Harry and Meghan find new sources of income apart from the royals and the taxpayer.

In that event 51 per cent say they should forego their HRH status. One in three – 34 per cent – believe they should hold on to it.

Many of the public also think Afghan war veteran Harry should stand down from one of his most prized roles, as ceremonial head of the Royal Marines. A total of 36 per cent think he should carry on as Captain General, but 39 per cent say he should relinquish the post.

The poll gives a revealing insight into the perception of the balance of power in the marriage.

Harry and Meghan chat to the women who set up the community kitchen in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy

Harry and Meghan chat to the women who set up the community kitchen in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy

The women behind a community kitchen which was set up in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy

The women behind a community kitchen which was set up in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy

The couple say their decision was a mutual one. But a total of 44 per cent of people believe Meghan made the decision, 39 per cent say they had an equal say, and just 4 per cent think Harry was in charge. A total of 57 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 have a positive view of the duchess. The figure is only 30 per cent among over-65s.

Despite the Royal Family being rocked by the crisis, the public overall has faith that the monarchy can weather the storm.

A total of 44 per cent say the institution has not been damaged, while 38 per cent believe it has. Nearly one in two people – 48 per cent – say the monarchy will last ‘forever’, while 39 per cent reckon it will be around for up to 50 years, and only 13 per cent expect it to be gone within a decade.

JL Partners interviewed 1,000 adults online on Thursday and yesterday. The earlier poll on royals’ ratings was carried out in October by YouGov. 

‘It’s always her way or the highway – she flees when things get heavy’: Friends and family of Meghan Markle open up to DAVID JONES about Megxit – and NONE are surprised she jumped the royal ship

Among the innumerable fascinating traits I uncovered when researching Meghan Markle’s life story was her fondness for homespun mottos.

She seemed to have an aphorism to suit almost every eventuality. One was recited to her friends whenever she embarked on some landmark venture, such as a career move or a new relationship.

‘Never give it five minutes if you’re not prepared to give it five years,’ she would declare (omitting to say this mantra was originally coined by her first husband, Trevor Engelson).

That it has taken Meghan considerably less time — just 20 months — to decide she cannot adjust to the rigours of royal duty may have shocked the British public.

This week, however, I have canvassed many of my sources for the biography of the Duchess that I wrote for the Mail, including her oldest friends, maternal grandmother and relatives of the now happily remarried Mr Engelson.

None of these people — who know how Meghan conducts herself and the strategies she employs — is surprised that this free-spirited and untameably headstrong woman has so prematurely jumped the royal ship, and ‘cut and run’ (as one friend put it) for a new life in Canada.

Of course, she has not taken this momentous decision, which amounts to abdication, unilaterally. 

Prince Harry, who spoke so enthusiastically of the work he and Meghan would do together when their engagement was announced, has since become so disillusioned that his mental health is said to have been affected.

Yet friends feel sure Meghan will have been the prime instigator of their hasty escape.

Indeed, their official resignation statement drips with the laidback phraseology of surfside California — they are not resigning but ‘stepping back’ to ‘transition’ into a ‘progressive new role’ — and friends believe it was penned by Meghan herself.  

‘Never give it five minutes if you’re not prepared to give it five years,’ she would declare (omitting to say this mantra was originally coined by her first husband, Trevor Engelson). That it has taken Meghan considerably less time — just 20 months — to decide she cannot adjust to the rigours of royal duty may have shocked the British public. Pictured: Outside Canada House with Prince Harry on Tuesday

‘Never give it five minutes if you’re not prepared to give it five years,’ she would declare (omitting to say this mantra was originally coined by her first husband, Trevor Engelson). That it has taken Meghan considerably less time — just 20 months — to decide she cannot adjust to the rigours of royal duty may have shocked the British public. Pictured: Outside Canada House with Prince Harry on Tuesday

‘Something must have gone very wrong for her to give all this up. But this is what they have decided, and we have to respect it.’ Perhaps so. Others will take a different view. But Ava Burrows, who was married to Meghan’s late maternal grandfather, Alvin Ragland, broadly agrees

‘Something must have gone very wrong for her to give all this up. But this is what they have decided, and we have to respect it.’ Perhaps so. Others will take a different view. But Ava Burrows, who was married to Meghan’s late maternal grandfather, Alvin Ragland, broadly agrees

‘I saw this coming — it was just a matter of time,’ one of Meghan’s oldest confidantes told me yesterday. ‘With Meghan, it has always been her way or the highway. She is always the centre of the relationship, regardless of Harry’s title. She wants to be in the limelight, but under her own terms.

Prince Charles fears Harry is at ‘tipping point’ 

Prince Charles has rallied round his youngest son Prince Harry, who he fears has reached ‘tipping point’ as the fallout of his and Meghan Markle’s decision to quit as senior Royals continues to rage.

An insider claimed on Friday night the heir to the throne had vowed to support his son whatever the outcome of the turmoil currently engulfing the Sussexes.

Meghan and Harry’s bombshell announcement sent shockwaves reverberating throughout the Royal Family and forced crisis talks between the Queen, Charles and William, who was said to be furious with his brother for blindsiding them.  

Although Charles has been bunkered down in these discussions to develop a ‘workable solution’ to the couple’s ‘progressive’ future, his primary concern is the welfare of his son. 

‘He [Charles] is absolutely clear in his mind that Harry is at a tipping point and has promised him he would do everything in his power to help him,’ a source told the Mirror.

‘Charles told him he would stand by him no matter what, but urged him to come up with a sensible plan that could be worked through in order to satisfy everyone.’

‘Now she will get to make her own rules. It’s perfect for her. Meghan likes to flee when things get heavy, and observe from afar what she has done. I’m sure she wanted to get back to her inner circle (in Canada); her new creative team who are behind these plans.

‘She has been able to move fast because this has been planned for months. She is running a campaign. This is not just an exit. It is a long-game strategy that has been set in motion for some time.’

Yesterday the Mail revealed how Meghan had left her eight-month old baby Archie in Canada, in the care of his nanny and reportedly her close friend Jessica Mulroney, when she flew briefly back to Britain a few days ago, after she and Harry enjoyed a seven-week break, including Christmas and the New Year, on Vancouver Island.

The Duchess has not been spotted at the sprawling Vancouver Island home where they spent their break, but the Telegraph report that after her BA flight Meghan was whisked back to the mansion where she was thought to have left her eight-month-old. 

‘It’s easier for her to go to London and play this game without [Archie] there,’ the friend continued. ‘She has an ability to compartmentalise so she can succeed.’ 

According to the friend this behaviour may be rooted in the early years of her life which, as for any child of divorced parents, were not always straightforward and her experiences may have taught her something about the intricacies of family diplomacy.

‘I don’t think [Meghan] is fully aware of how much backlash she will receive [but] I honestly don’t think she cares at the moment,’ adds the friend.

‘What’s one country when she’s got the whole world at her feet? She won’t set foot in the UK again, let alone live there, unless she gets what she feels she’s worth.’ 

‘I saw this coming — it was just a matter of time,’ one of Meghan’s oldest confidantes told me yesterday. ‘With Meghan, it has always been her way or the highway. She is always the centre of the relationship, regardless of Harry’s title. She wants to be in the limelight, but under her own terms.' Pictured: Meghan Markle and Trevor Engelson in East Hampton, NY in 2006

‘I saw this coming — it was just a matter of time,’ one of Meghan’s oldest confidantes told me yesterday. ‘With Meghan, it has always been her way or the highway. She is always the centre of the relationship, regardless of Harry’s title. She wants to be in the limelight, but under her own terms.’ Pictured: Meghan Markle and Trevor Engelson in East Hampton, NY in 2006

 Like other friends and family members I spoke to, my source recalled, with irony, how Meghan had formed a fancifully romantic impression of British royalty as a Los Angeles schoolgirl.

She developed a particular infatuation for Princess Diana, devouring books and videos about her life and humanitarian work then setting out to emulate her by serving the homeless in skid-row soup kitchens.

Her obsession gathered pace when she visited London in 1996, making a beeline for Buckingham Palace and having her photo taken outside the gates.

According to her school friend Ninaki Priddy, who posed beside her in that portentous snapshot, her avowed ambition was to become ‘Princess Diana 2.0’.

When Meghan became entwined with Diana’s son, in 2016, her fantasy appeared to have been fulfilled. It was only after they were married, and Meghan awoke to the constraints and frequent monotony of her role that this girlish dream evaporated.

She may have envisaged becoming a freewheeling global ambassador championing her causes — which range from women’s rights to improving Third World sanitation — but the reality all too often entailed glad-handing crowds in some rainy Midlands town.

So, as her old friend surmised: ‘Her ideal princess fairytale didn’t work out like she wanted. She thought she would be able to control her own narrative and she felt limited by the royal rules.

‘She was cut off from her usual channels — her Twitter account or Instagram — which meant she couldn’t speak out on causes the way she wanted. In that silence, I’m sure she convinced Harry to pick a “side” (either her chosen path or that which the Palace establishment had laid out for them). For her it was never about modernising the Royal Family.

‘She made it look like she was on board and willing to play the game of “duty”, but Meghan is not one to bite her tongue or take to the British stiff upper-lip.’

Then there was the public criticism of her. Though the majority of British people have taken Meghan to their hearts, friends say she sees matters very differently.

Behind the steely veneer she developed when climbing the greasy pole in Hollywood, she is highly sensitive to disapproval and needs adoration. That became evident when, speaking to ITN’s Tom Bradby last year, she bemoaned the fact that nobody had bothered to ask how she was faring as a new wife and mother.

Friends feel this was another major factor in the decision to cut ties with the Palace and limit her time in Britain.

Raised in America, where standards are very different, they say she will be unable to countenance why she is attacked for spending lavishly on home refurbishments, for example; or using her social media platform to publicise the fashion designs and fitness workouts of friends in her social circle.

‘I think, when she started to receive limitations from the Royal Family, and all of a sudden she couldn’t control things any more, she no longer wanted to participate in the grand scheme of royalty,’ the friend surmises.

Meghan and Harry have, of course, blamed an over-intrusive, hyper-critical media for many of their problems, but she added: ‘Meghan has been playing the narrative of “woe is me”, but she knew what she was getting into. 

It was clear from the [ITN] documentary that she was already spinning the Press issue in a certain way.’

Another woman who knows how Meghan’s mind works is Sonia Ardakani, the mother of her closest school friend, Suzy Ardakani.

During her teens, when her father Thomas worked long hours as a Hollywood lighting director and her mother, Doria, frequently worked away from LA, Meghan often stayed at Mrs Ardakani’s house and her friend’s mother became almost a surrogate aunt.

Last year, she told me how Meghan’s determination to use her royal role as a force for good, and her deep-seated respect for the institution of royalty, would make her a huge asset to the family.

Digesting the news in LA yesterday, however, she revised that opinion. ‘Yes, Meghan wanted to be a princess, but I guess a princess in her way,’ she told me. (In LA, duchesses and princesses are interchangeable.)

‘In a way I am surprised she has chosen to do this, but we know how independent Meghan is. She deals with business in her own way, and I guess the Queen didn’t allow her to do that.

‘Then there is all the attention she is getting. She might have been an actress, but nothing can have prepared her for that. Life seems to have become miserable for her and Harry, and they will remember what happened to Diana.

‘Something must have gone very wrong for her to give all this up. But this is what they have decided, and we have to respect it.’

Perhaps so. Others will take a different view. But Ava Burrows, who was married to Meghan’s late maternal grandfather, Alvin Ragland, broadly agrees.

Two years ago, when I visited her home in the Californian desert to break the news that Meghan and Harry were to be married, Mrs Burrows, a retired teacher, whooped with delight, slapped her thigh, and declared: ‘Meggie marrying a prince? Who’d have thunk!’

Yet her joy was tempered with the reality that Meghan, with her mixed-race heritage and dysfunctional family background, had been raised in a milieu light-years removed from that of her future husband, and, in her jocular manner, sounded a note of caution.

The Daily Mail has learnt that Meghan returned to North America, where their eight-month-old son, Archie, had been left with his nanny

Harry ignored a personal request by the Queen to keep negotiations about his and his wife's wish to break free private and not make a public statement

The Daily Mail has learnt that Meghan (left on a previous trip) returned to North America, where their eight-month-old son, Archie, had been left with his nanny. The news of her travel plans come as her and Prince Harry (right) announced they would be stepping back from their Royal duties

Idyllic: The royal couple have been living in a luxury £10.7million property on Vancouver Island, where it is believed Meghan has returned to after spending just three days in the UK

Idyllic: The royal couple have been living in a luxury £10.7million property on Vancouver Island, where it is believed Meghan has returned to after spending just three days in the UK

The Queen is seen today for the first time since the Duke and Duchess revealed they were stepping down as senior royals

The Queen drives in her car at Sandringham today

The Queen is seen on Friday for the first time since the Duke and Duchess revealed they were stepping down as senior royals

Meghan and Harry ‘hopeful’ talks around their future will be concluded swiftly 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are ‘hopeful’ that crunch talks determining their new stripped-back role in the Royal Family can be thrashed out ‘sooner rather than later’, a source revealed tonight.

The Duke and Duchess’s announcement to ‘step back’ from their official duties and become ‘financially independent’ has thrown the Family into crisis, with the public demanding answers as to what their ‘progressive’ new role would be.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have held discussions to diffuse the situation and ordered Palace officials to quickly develop a ‘workable solution’ for Meghan and Harry’s future.

The three senior Royals closed ranks following Wednesday night’s bombshell Instagram statement, but today a steely-faced Her Majesty broke cover to drive her car through Sandringham – a move choreographed to play down the crisis and show she was continuing her activities as normal.

But behind closed doors, officials are working furiously to draw up a blueprint for Meghan and Harry’s future role. 

A source close to the couple claimed Friday night negotiations between the Palace and the Sussex household are ‘progressing well’, in consultation with both the UK and Canadian government. 

They said: ‘They, like everyone, are hopeful this can all be worked out, sooner rather than later.

‘It is in everyone’s interest for this to be figured out, and figured out quickly, but not at the expense of the outcome.’  

‘I guess it’s like your Downton Abbey, and we are the folks downstairs,’ was how she put it. ‘I’m kind of expecting the men in black suits (she meant either the FBI or Buckingham Palace officials) to check us out.’

Her inference was that it would take a gargantuan leap for Meghan to adjust to her new life. As Mrs Burrows is too busy caring for her ailing mother to follow the news closely, it fell to me yesterday to inform her that her misgivings had proved prescient. ‘No! Really? I hadn’t heard!’ she exclaimed, when I told her Meghan and Harry would be spending considerably more time on her side of the pond.

After a pause, she offered a more considered response. ‘I don’t know if ‘surprised’ is the right word. I guess it’s been just too hard for her (to adjust). I guess pressure is pressure, and you only know how much you can take when you’re in the middle of it. Speaking as a grandmother, I think that when you have a baby you want to be near your own mother, and now Meghan will be able to see much more of Doria. I’m sure she will be delighted to see more of Meghan and her grandson.

‘But I don’t imagine Meggie will have made the decision by herself. Maybe with Harry’s history — with the situation with his mother —maybe he’s tired, too, and had been for a long time. I guess this is their exit strategy.’

Whatever the fall-out from this bombshell break for freedom, declared without even the courtesy of a discussion with senior royals, we can be sure there will be no turning back.

For as I discovered, Meghan has made a promise to herself to live her life in the manner of her own choosing, almost regardless of the consequences — and when she decides on something there is never a backward glance.

In many ways, this outlook was shaped by her experiences as an obscure actress struggling to make her name. In her 20s, she swung between periods of ecstasy and abject despair. 

When she landed a film or TV role the champagne corks would pop; when she was rejected she would wallow in bed for days, swallowing her misery with glasses of wine and junk food.

Then, on August 1, 2014, her 33rd birthday, her outlook was transformed by a moment she calls her epiphany. ‘I always dreamed, but I guess it’s safe to say I never dreamed big,’ she wrote in The Tig, the candid lifestyle blog she posted before meeting Harry.

During the couple's brief return to the UK together, they paid a visit to the Grenfell kitchen in west London shortly before the bombshell news broke

During the couple’s brief return to the UK together, they paid a visit to the Grenfell kitchen in west London shortly before the bombshell news broke

‘And then I made a choice to live my life less stifled. To try not to just live, but to live so fully that my life was bursting at the seams, my days felt purpose-driven and heart felt full. To stop living my life complacently and start taking risks, and to dream bigger than I ever imagined.’

Meghan and Harry reveal pictures from secret Grenfell kitchen trip 

'With funds from the successful cookbook, they have now been able to share their spirit of community with so many more,' they continued

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to visit the women of The Hubb Community Kitchen

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have today revealed pictures of their secret visit to a Grenfell kitchen four days ago as she returned to Canada to be reunited with Archie. 

In the first glimpse of what their ‘progressive’ new role could look like, the couple met, embraced and laughed with the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London.

This afternoon’s post to their 10.4million Instagram followers made no mention of the storm raging in the upper echelons of the Royal Family, as the public clamour for answers in the wake of Wednesday night’s shock statement continues to be met with a wall of silence. 

The six pictures were accompanied by the caption: ‘These women came together in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy to cook meals for their families and neighbours who had been displaced from the fire.

‘With funds from the successful cookbook, they have now been able to share their spirit of community with so many more. 

In September 2018, it was revealed Meghan had been secretly visiting the Hubb Community Kitchen to meet with the women who put together the ‘Together: Our Community Cookbook’, for which she wrote the foreword.  

The kitchen was opened in the aftermath of the 2017 Grenfell tragedy, and Meghan’s support for the project is widely credited with spurring a surge of donations.  

Though she admitted it sounded ‘dramatic and cheesy’, she called this her ‘re-birthday’. The ‘reborn’ Meghan was as good as her word. Soon after, she divorced Engelson (returning his wedding and engagement rings by post) and began a relationship with Cory Vitiello, a celebrity chef she met in Toronto, where she was filming Suits, the TV soap that brought her the fame she craved.

She also ditched her old friends in Los Angeles to join a more elevated circle in her ‘adopted city’, as she calls it, among them her baby-minder in absentia this week, Jessica Mulroney, the high-end stylist married to former Canadian Prime Minister’s son Ben Mulroney.

Those she ‘ghosted’ say they were so ruthlessly expunged from Meghan’s new life that it was as though they had ceased to exist.

Now, although she and Harry have deigned to pledge their support for the Queen, she has effectively dismissed the Royal Family in a similar manner.

The news was greeted with a knowing sigh by Engelson’s uncle, Mickey-Miles Felton. ‘Meghan is very opinionated and doesn’t like being told what to do,’ he told me, adding: ‘She knew what she was getting into when she married Harry. But we won’t be gloating over this. That’s not our style.’

Mr Felton, 75, a top U.S. lacrosse coach, uses a sporting analogy to describe Meghan’s ‘desertion’. ‘It’s like me signing up to coach a team knowing it’ll be a big challenge, then quitting as soon as the going gets tough,’ he said.

Meghan and Harry say they will live between Britain and North America. So, where might they settle across the Atlantic?

A lover of the great outdoors since her childhood, when she fished and hiked on camping trips with her father, Meghan has a long-standing affection for Vancouver Island, where she and Harry spent their extended winter break, and where their momentous decision appears to have been finalised.

Intriguingly, I am told that, in the dying days of her marriage to Engelson, he and Meghan retreated to the island, with its magnificent forests and wild coastline, in a last-ditch attempt to reconcile their differences.

They stayed in a house belonging to the family of her fellow Suits cast member Patrick Adams.

However, it is probably too remote for Meghan and Harry to make their home there. The betting among those I spoke to is that they will base themselves in Toronto, where, almost four years ago, their romance began. Leaving aside the harsh winter weather (the temperature sank to -17C two nights ago) there are many reasons they might return there.

For one thing it is a city where privacy is sacrosanct and even the most famous celebrity could walk the streets without being troubled. For another, it is a short hop from New York and only five hours flying time from Los Angeles, where Doria lives.

Then there are the many influential friends Meghan made there, the free-and-easy ambience and liberal attitudes, not to mention some of her favourite shops, restaurants, parks and yoga studios.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave holding hands after visiting Canada House in London on Tuesday where they gave thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality, despite knowing that they would be making a swift return days later

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave holding hands after visiting Canada House in London on Tuesday where they gave thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality, despite knowing that they would be making a swift return days later

Former next-door neighbour, Bill Kapetanos, 77, is confident she and Harry will choose to raise baby Archie in Toronto. ‘Everything they need as a family is here, and the Canadians will leave them in peace, which seems to be what they want,’ said Mr Kapetanos.

He was among the first to see Harry secretly visiting Meghan at the house she rented in Seaton Village and often chatted to her over the garden fence. They will probably choose a more exclusive suburb, such as Rosedale or Deer Park where their friends the Mulroneys have their mansion.

But settling there could present one drawback. They would almost certainly find themselves in the same circle as old flame Vitiello. 

 



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