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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry return to British Columbia: A timeline of their romance in Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's relationship features many milestone moments in Canada.

 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry will return to Canada in 2025 for the Invictus Games. (Image via Getty Images)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry will return to Canada in 2025 for the Invictus Games. (Image via Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have returned to British Columbia one year ahead of the 2025 Invictus Games.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be attending several training camps for next year's Invictus Games in both Whistler and Vancouver to support participating athletes in a Winter Training Camp. The 2025 Invictus Games will be the first time athletes will compete in winter sports, including alpine skiing, skeleton and wheelchair curling in addition to summer sports like rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming and more.

The Duchess of Sussex greeted athletes at the One Year To Go Winter Training Camp in Whistler. (Image via Getty Images)
The Duchess of Sussex greeted athletes at the One Year To Go Winter Training Camp in Whistler. (Image via Getty Images)

The couple marked Valentine's Day alongside a film crew, mingling with athletes and veterans, trying out adaptive skiing.

Meghan donned a pair of white skinny jeans by Frame, a sweater topped with a long beige Calvin Klein quilted coat, paired with a black toque and fur-lined Joan of Arctic Sorrel boots, while Harry opted for a black jacket and dark blue jeans.

A video from the event captured Meghan laughing and borrowing a friend's phone to record her husband as he prepared to attempt sit-skiing for the first time.

"Do I need to sign a waiver?" Harry joked before taking off.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will return to Canada in 2025 for the Invictus Games. (Image via Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will return to Canada in 2025 for the Invictus Games. (Image via Getty Images)

Over the next two days, they'll engage with the Winter Training Camp, a precursor to the inaugural winter edition of the Invictus Games, which will feature winter sports including alpine skiing, snowboarding, biathlon and wheelchair curling. It will also include indoor activities like rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.

Prince Harry, who founded the Games for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans about 10 years ago, shared his excitement about his excitement about the sports added to the docket this year, and his hosting role, stating, "As Invictus continues to adapt and evolve, I am extremely excited to announce that the Invictus Games Foundation has selected Canada to host the first-ever Winter Hybrid Games in 2025."

Prince Harry tried adaptive skiing during a visit to Whistler. (Image via Getty Images)
Prince Harry tried adaptive skiing during a visit to Whistler. (Image via Getty Images)

Harry and Meghan returned to the hills on Thursday morning to continue showing their support for the athletes and veterans as well as testing out the sports for themselves.

The trip is sentimental for the Sussexes who have spoken fondly of Canada and its role in their love story. The couple's relationship is an unexpected love story with a Canadian twist that sparked global fascination, from their clandestine beginnings in Toronto to their highly publicized departure from their royal roles, leading to their brief residence in British Columbia in 2020.

Here’s an overview of the couple’s story, their connection to Canada, and the important role it played in their relationship from the very beginning.


July 2016: Secret beginnings

Meghan Markle (pictured in April 2016) lived in Toronto for seven years before moving to the U.K. for Prince Harry. (Image via Getty Images)
Meghan Markle (pictured in April 2016) lived in Toronto for seven years before moving to the U.K. for Prince Harry. (Image via Getty Images)

In 2016, Meghan was busy filming the TV show "Suits" and living in Toronto's Seaton Village neighbourhood. Although their first date was in London, the pair's relationship blossomed in private, with Harry and Meghan commuting across the pond to visit one another.

“We were able to really have so much time just to connect," Harry told Harry told BBC in 2017. "We never went longer than two weeks without seeing each other, even though we were obviously doing a long distance relationship. We made it work."


September 2017: Public debut at the Invictus Games in Toronto

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made their public debut in September 2017 at the Toronto Invictus Games. (Image via Getty Images)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made their public debut in September 2017 at the Toronto Invictus Games. (Image via Getty Images)

Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017 where the pair looked smitten with one another.

Meghan spoke to Ellen Degeneres in 2022 about the days leading up to the world learning about her relationship with her now-husband.

"[Harry] came to see me in Toronto and our friends and his cousin, Eugenie, and her husband Jack, they came as well, and the four of us snuck out in Halloween costumes to have one fun night on the town before it was out in the world that we were a couple," she said.


November 2017: Engagement announcement

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November 2017. (Image via Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November 2017. (Image via Getty Images)

When the couple announced their engagement in November 2017, Meghan shared how she would transition from her life in Toronto to joining Harry in the U.K. The move marked the end of her time on “Suits” — and her acting career at large — and the beginning of her new role within the Royal Family. However, her time in Canada had laid the groundwork for the couple's eventual return.

“With ‘Suits’ over, so is Meghan’s life in Toronto,” a source told Us Weekly in 2017. “It’s the end of a really precious era so she’s definitely sad to see it come to an end, but she’s also really excited about starting a new chapter with [Prince] Harry.”

In Harry's memoir, "Spare" he called Meghan's move to the UK "A difficult moment for her, because she loved that show, loved the character she was playing, loved her cast and crew—loved Canada."


December 2019: A Canadian Christmas

After tying the knot in May 2018, and welcoming their first child, Archie in May 2019, Meghan and Harry were living in the UK full-time. However, in 2019 they chose to spend their Christmas holiday in Canada. They stayed in a secluded property on Vancouver Island, enjoying a private family vacation, free from the hustle and bustle of their royal duties.

“They are enjoying sharing the warmth of the Canadian people and the beauty of the landscape with their young son,” a representative said at the time.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed them into the country with a tweet, writing, “Prince Harry, Meghan, and Archie, we’re all wishing you a quiet and blessed stay in Canada. You’re among friends, and always welcome here.”

Upon their return to London, the Sussexes visited Canada House where Meghan spoke fondly about her time in Canada.

“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,” Meghan said. “To see Archie go ‘ahhh’ when you walk by and just see how stunning it is, so it meant a lot to us.”


January 2020: Stepping back from royal duties

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited Canada House in London in January 2020 before announcing their decision to
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited Canada House in London in January 2020 before announcing their decision to "step back" from senior royal duties. (Image via Getty Images)

In a move that stunned the world, Meghan and Harry announced their intention to step back as senior members of the Royal Family in January 2020. The couple expressed their desire to split their time between the UK and North America, with the intention of calling Canada home.

In the 2022 Netflix docuseries “Harry & Meghan,” the couple admitted their plan to move to Canada was “years in the making.”

“What's important is the pack of the royal rota is based there in London,” Meghan said, referring to the royal-rota system that gives publications, including The Sun, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Mail, regular access to the royal family. “If we're not there, they can't cover what we're doing.”

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the Sussexes said in an Instagram statement in January, 2020.


Early 2020: Settling in British Columbia

Following their announcement, the couple briefly settled in a waterfront home on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This period represented a chapter of the couple navigating their new independence before moving to California just one month later.


March 2020: Relocation to California

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have lived in California since 2020. (Image via Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have lived in California since 2020. (Image via Getty Images)

Ultimately, the couple’s stay in Canada was short-lived. By March 2020, amidst growing privacy concerns and the complexities of their unique position, Meghan and Harry relocated to Los Angeles, California, where they welcomed their second child, daughter Lilibet, in June 2021.

While this move marked the end of their Canadian chapter, there’s no denying that the Great White North has a special place in their hearts and played a significant role in their love story.

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