A picture is worth a thousand words - especially when it is taken by one of the most well-known women in the world.
Asymina Kantorowicz and boyfriend Iliya Pavlovic received the surprise of a lifetime when they crossed paths with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex while hiking in Vancouver Island’s Horth Hill Regional Park on New Year’s Day.
Kantorowicz, a writer and producer for CTV News Vancouver Island, said she and her boyfriend packed a picnic lunch and set out for their hike, which has become a New Year’s tradition for the couple.
“We were just finishing up [lunch] and I said ‘Let’s try taking a selfie, it’s a nice scenic backdrop,” Kantorowicz said in an interview with Today. They snapped some photos of themselves using a selfie stick.
While reviewing their pictures, a pair of dogs appeared, followed by a group of hikers. One of the women in the group approached the couple, and offered to help them take a photo.
“We said yes right away,” Kantorowicz recalled.
While the pair initially didn’t recognize the Duchess, Kantorowicz said she did notice “Suits” actress Abigail Spencer in the group. The journalist put the pieces together and realized the woman who offered to take their photo was none other than Meghan Markle.
“When I looked up, there’s Meghan smiling back at me, waiting for us to take this photo!” she said. “Then I looked over at the rest of the group, and there’s Prince Harry with another dog.”
Surprised, Kantorowicz said she made a joke about their attempt to use a selfie stick, prompting Prince Harry to jokingly reply, “No pressure, Meghan.”
“Well, I guess I better do a better job than the selfie stick,” the good-natured Duchess responded.
Kantorowicz said the entire exchange left her in disbelief.
“I feel like I would’ve been more comfortable if Archie was there,” she told Today. “I would’ve started talking about the baby, but I was in shock. I had no words.”
While many people would undoubtedly be awestruck with the Duke and Duchess, Kantorowicz said she didn’t want to make a scene for the lowkey royals, who seemed “relaxed and happy.”
Upon returning to work, Kantorowicz’s relayed the story to her colleagues, who immediately published the story. Media outlets around the world followed suit.
“It’s honestly been a blur since it happened,” Kantorowicz told Yahoo Canada. “As soon as the story went up online, the response has been overwhelming. I didn’t think it would have this big of a reaction. I guess it goes to show how many people love the royal couple.”
In December, a source confirmed that the pair would be spending time in Canada celebrating the holidays in private. The holiday followed an extended break from royal duties, after a particularly difficult year for the couple.
The Sussexes have maintained a low profile during their time off, but opted to share a new photo of their 8-month-old son with Prince Harry to celebrate the New Year.
“It was so nice of Meghan to stop and offer to help us. We truly appreciate it,” Kantorowicz said. “We hope her and Harry are enjoying their trip to Vancouver Island.”