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‘Independent’ Meghan Markle drives herself to Canadian airport

Meghan Markle took full advantage of her newfound independence from the Crown as she drove herself to a Canadian airport to pick up a pilates expert pal who jetted in from the US for the weekend.

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted in photos obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com parked outside Victoria International Airport in a Land Rover Discovery on Thursday afternoon. 

She appeared to be in high spirits as she chatted with a male companion in the front seat, believed to be personal security, for about 10 minutes until her friend Heather Dorak arrived. 

Ms Dorak, who hails from San Antonio, Texas, but lives in California, became Meghan’s pilates guru and attended the royal wedding in May 2018 with her husband Matt Cohen. She runs the Pilates Platinum brand, which the Duchess started attending in Los Angeles when she starred in Suits. 

The friends were also both pregnant at the same time in late 2018, but their children were not with them at arrivals yesterday afternoon.

5,000 miles away in London her husband Harry made his first public appearance since the Megxit bombshell – and potentially his last engagement as a frontline royal – at the draw for the Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace yesterday. 

And Harry and Meghan’s staff at Frogmore Cottage are reportedly being ‘let go’, in the surest sign yet the couple will settle permanently in Canada with the Duchess strongly rumoured never to return.

Meghan Markle took full advantage of her newfound independence as she drove herself to Victoria International Airport on Thursday to pick up a pal

Meghan Markle took full advantage of her newfound independence as she drove herself to Victoria International Airport on Thursday to pick up a pal

Meghan Markle took full advantage of her newfound independence as she drove herself to Victoria International Airport on Thursday to pick up a pal

Meghan appeared to be in high spirits as she chatted with a male companion in the front seat, believed to be a security officer

Meghan appeared to be in high spirits as she chatted with a male companion in the front seat, believed to be a security officer

Meghan appeared to be in high spirits as she chatted with a male companion in the front seat, believed to be a security officer

Meghan points as she pulls off after waiting outside arrivals for her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates guru from Texas she met while filming Suits

Meghan points as she pulls off after waiting outside arrivals for her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates guru from Texas she met while filming Suits

Meghan points as she pulls off after waiting outside arrivals for her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates guru from Texas she met while filming Suits 

Heather Dorak emerged from the terminal pushing a black roller bag with a black tote slung over her shoulder

Heather Dorak emerged from the terminal pushing a black roller bag with a black tote slung over her shoulder

Ms Dorak, who hails from in San Antonio, Texas, became Meghan's pilates guru and attended the royal wedding in May 2018 with her husband Matt Cohen

Ms Dorak, who hails from in San Antonio, Texas, became Meghan's pilates guru and attended the royal wedding in May 2018 with her husband Matt Cohen

Pilates instructor Heather Dorak emerged from the terminal pushing a black roller bag with a black tote slung over her shoulder

Meghan maintained a low profile by donning a black beanie, over-sized sunglasses and fur-lined black parka

Meghan maintained a low profile by donning a black beanie, over-sized sunglasses and fur-lined black parka

Meghan maintained a low profile by donning a black beanie, over-sized sunglasses and fur-lined black parka

Meghan was believed to have driven her black Land Rover Discovery from the palatial $14million Canadian mansion on Vancouver Island where she's been holed up since before Christmas

Meghan was believed to have driven her black Land Rover Discovery from the palatial $14million Canadian mansion on Vancouver Island where she's been holed up since before Christmas

Meghan was believed to have driven her black Land Rover Discovery from the palatial $14million Canadian mansion on Vancouver Island where she’s been holed up since before Christmas

The Duchess of Sussex waited outside Arrivals for about 10 minutes before Dorak arrived

The Duchess of Sussex waited outside Arrivals for about 10 minutes before Dorak arrived

Meghan maintained a low profile by donning a black beanie, over-sized sunglasses and fur-lined black parka

Meghan maintained a low profile by donning a black beanie, over-sized sunglasses and fur-lined black parka

The Duchess of Sussex waited outside Arrivals for about 10 minutes before Dorak arrived 

Meghan’s guru pal Heather Dorak jets in as Duchess’ friends rally around her in Canada

The Duchess of Sussex is seen enjoying a playful beach workout with her friend, pilates instructor Heather Dorak, in a social media snap shared before Meghan began dating Harry

The Duchess of Sussex is seen enjoying a playful beach workout with her friend, pilates instructor Heather Dorak, in a social media snap shared before Meghan began dating Harry

The Duchess of Sussex is seen enjoying a playful beach workout with her friend, pilates instructor Heather Dorak, in a social media snap shared before Meghan began dating Harry

Meghan Markle’s body coach and a key part of her North American inner circle has arrived in Canada to help her close friend deal with the grisly aftermath of Megxit.

The Duchess of Sussex was seen driving herself to Victoria International Airport yesterday afternoon to meet Heather Dorak ahead of a girly weekend.

A smiling Meghan greeted her friend with a hug as she sat in the front seat of a Land Rover Discovery next to a male companion, thought to be a protection officer.

It is thought Meghan then drove on to the £10.7million mansion on Vancouver Island where she has largely been holed up since Thanksgiving with Archie and his nanny. 

Ms Dorak, who originates from Texas but is now based in LA, became Meghan’s yoga guru and attended the royal wedding in May 2018 with her husband Matt Cohen.

The pair mingled with guests such as George and Amal Clooney at the St George’s Chapel ceremony, which was followed by a lavish after-party at Frogmore House.

Heather is a member of the close-knit girl squad understood to have masterminded Meghan’s secret hen do ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry.

Meghan frequently shared snaps of herself and Heather on her now defunct Instagram account before it was closed ahead of the royal wedding.

The event, which saw the prince chatting to youngster’s in the Queen’s garden, was marked with an official Instagram video set to Stone Roses hit This Is The One, which famously features the lyrics: ‘I’d like to leave the country for a month of Sundays’.  The extraordinary blunder had nothing to do with Harry, palace officials said later, blaming the event’s organisers for the choice of song despite it being released via the official Sussex Royal account.

Meghan’s airport sighting came eight days since she and Prince Harry announced that they would be quitting their duties as senior royals and splitting their time between the UK and North America. 

Meghan is believed to have driven herself to the airport from the palatial £10.7million [$14million] Canadian mansion on Vancouver Island where she’s largely been holed up since Thanksgiving with Archie and his nanny.  

Meghan maintained a low profile by donning a black beanie, over-sized sunglasses and fur-lined black parka. 

She removed the sunglasses for a brief moment before putting them back on to block out the harsh late-day sun. 

A smile spread across her face when she spotted her friend approaching the car with a suitcase and tote bag in tow. 

The friend slipped into the backseat of the crossover before reaching over to hug Meghan in the driver’s seat.  

It’s unclear where the trio were headed off to when they left the airport – but Meghan’s broad grin indicated she was excited about the destination. 

The Duchess of Sussex first broke cover on Tuesday for the first time since her bombshell announcement when she left the Vancouver Island mansion to visit a women’s shelter in Canada’s poorest neighborhood.   

Harry is expected to join Meghan in Canada soon, after spending time in Britain to work out the terms for the couple quitting during a summit with the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William at Sandringham on Monday.

He made his first public appearance since the Megxit bombshell at the draw for the Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. 

Meghan removed her sunglasses for a brief moment before putting them back on to block out the harsh late-day sun

Meghan removed her sunglasses for a brief moment before putting them back on to block out the harsh late-day sun

Meghan removed her sunglasses for a brief moment before putting them back on to block out the harsh late-day sun

Meghan removed her sunglasses for a brief moment before putting them back on to block out the harsh late-day sun

Meghan removed her sunglasses for a brief moment before putting them back on to block out the harsh late-day sun

A smile spread across Meghan's face when she spotted her friend approaching the car

A smile spread across Meghan's face when she spotted her friend approaching the car

A smile spread across Meghan’s face when she spotted her friend approaching the car

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She’s back in Canada and she seems to be revisiting a lot of pieces from her Suits days. So far this week she’s been pictured wearing a cable knit jumper that her character Rachel wore on the show, as well as a Barbour parka.

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Meghan's pal excitedly greeted the Duchess as she climbed into the backseat of the crossover

Meghan's pal excitedly greeted the Duchess as she climbed into the backseat of the crossover

Meghan’s pal excitedly greeted the Duchess as she climbed into the backseat of the crossover 

Meghan reached over her seat to embrace her pal before departing from the airport

Meghan reached over her seat to embrace her pal before departing from the airport

Meghan reached over her seat to embrace her pal before departing from the airport

Meghan reached over her seat to embrace her pal before departing from the airport

Meghan reached over her seat to embrace her pal before departing from the airport 

It's unclear where the trio were headed off to when they left the airport - but Meghan's broad grin indicated she was excited about the destination

It's unclear where the trio were headed off to when they left the airport - but Meghan's broad grin indicated she was excited about the destination

It’s unclear where the trio were headed off to when they left the airport – but Meghan’s broad grin indicated she was excited about the destination

Meghan checked her side mirror before pulling out into traffic as she and her entourage left the airport

Meghan checked her side mirror before pulling out into traffic as she and her entourage left the airport

Meghan checked her side mirror before pulling out into traffic as she and her entourage left the airport

Harry and Meghan’s Frogmore staff are let go 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex¿s staff at Frogmore Cottage are being ¿let go¿, sources revealed

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex¿s staff at Frogmore Cottage are being ¿let go¿, sources revealed

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s staff at Frogmore Cottage are being ‘let go’, sources revealed

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s staff at Frogmore Cottage are being ‘let go’, in the surest sign yet the couple will settle in Canada, sources revealed yesterday.

At least two permanent employees – a house manager and a cleaner – are being moved to other duties within the Queen’s household.

Other members of staff who are used on an ad hoc basis, such as chefs, maids and footmen, have been told their services are no longer required at the couple’s Windsor residence.

Sources said Harry and Meghan operated Frogmore, on the Queen’s Windsor estate, with a ‘skeleton staff’ and no-one was being made redundant. But it is understood the employees are having to switch jobs as a ‘knock-on effect’ of the couple’s decision to relocate to North America for at least part of the year.

The revelation will fuel speculation among palace officials that the Duchess of Sussex, in particular, will never return to Britain to live in a ‘meaningful’ way.

Harry raced through the launch of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup – dodging any questions about his future at a highly-orchestrated Buckingham Palace event. 

Harry and Meghan’s Instagram account Sussex Royal, one of the key parts of their brand going forward, marked the occasion by releasing an Instagram story showing the grinning prince larking around behind the scenes. 

And in what could be interpreted as nod to his imminent exit to North America, the soundtrack was the Stone Roses’ indie hit This Is the One, which contains the lyrics: ‘I’d like to leave the country for a month of Sundays’. 

Furious Buckingham Palace officials claimed Harry had no input in the choice of song, insisting that it was picked by event organizers.  

The Rugby League World Cup appearance could potentially be Harry’s last job as a senior royal before he moves to Canada.

The Queen, Harry’s 93-year-old grandmother, was said to be particularly hurt by Meghan and Harry’s decision to step down as senior royals.  

After the Sandringham summit, the Queen issued a rare personal statement that made clear her regret that the Sussexes had decided to step down.

But she said she respected their wish to live a ‘more independent’ life and had given her permission for them to spend time in Canada, as well as the UK, while these ‘complex’ matters were being resolved.

The biggest sticking points are understood to be the couple’s desire to earn their own living and how far they should be allowed to ‘commercialise’ their roles, as well as what royal duties they will still be expected to carry out.

Harry's Instagram story marking what could be his last event as a senior royal gave fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: 'I'd like to leave the country'

Harry's Instagram story marking what could be his last event as a senior royal gave fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: 'I'd like to leave the country'

Harry's Instagram story marking what could be his last event as a senior royal gave fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: 'I'd like to leave the country'

Harry's Instagram story marking what could be his last event as a senior royal gave fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: 'I'd like to leave the country'

Harry’s Instagram story marking what could be his last event as a senior royal gave fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: ‘I’d like to leave the country’

Harry managed to crack a wry smile after mixing the balls as he hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace in what could be his final full royal engagement in his current role

Harry managed to crack a wry smile after mixing the balls as he hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace in what could be his final full royal engagement in his current role

Harry managed to crack a wry smile after mixing the balls as he hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace in what could be his final full royal engagement in his current role

The British and Canadian governments are also involved in talks about residency and security issues.

Samantha Markle blames her sister for the Sussexes’ decision to quit royal life and declares: ‘It was all Meghan’s idea’

Samantha Markle, 55, claimed the royal couple's bombshell decision to quit and emigrate to Canada would have been made by Meghan herself.

Samantha Markle, 55, claimed the royal couple's bombshell decision to quit and emigrate to Canada would have been made by Meghan herself.

Samantha Markle, 55, claimed the royal couple’s bombshell decision to quit and emigrate to Canada would have been made by Meghan herself.

Meghan Markle’s half-sister today used a British TV interview to lay into the Duke and Duchess of Sussex over their ‘incredibly wrong and shocking’ treatment of her father Thomas and declared: ‘They have quite a bit of apologising to do’.

Samantha Markle, 55, who is Mr Markle’s daughter from his first marriage, also claimed the couple’s bombshell decision to quit and emigrate to Canada would have been made by Meghan not her husband.

In a wide-ranging interview with ITV’s This Morning Ms Markle, who lives in Florida, claimed quitting as senior royals after just 20 months of marriage was a ‘gross breach of duty’ to the Queen.

She said today: ‘Prince Harry and Meghan have quite a bit of apologising to do. We aren’t talking about teenagers, we are talking about adults who knew what they were doing and in regards to my father it was so incredibly wrong and shocking’.

She also said Meghan initially enjoyed the attention of being a royal, accusing her of adopting a ‘contrived British accent’, but wanted out once she was criticised about her ‘spending’.

Ms Markle also appeared to deny that the criticisms of her half-sister were laced with racism, calling the claim: ‘A misplacement of blame to avoid accountability’.

And she said Meghan’s legal against the Mail on Sunday is ‘ludicrous’ – and warned her the ‘truth’ will come out if it gets to the High Court.

A plan is likely to be announced within days. Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan’s staff at Frogmore Cottage are reportedly being ‘let go’, in the surest sign yet the couple will settle permanently in Canada

At least two permanent employees – a house manager and a cleaner – are being moved to other duties within the Queen’s household.

Other members of staff who are used on an ad hoc basis, such as chefs, maids and footmen, have been told their services are no longer required at the couple’s Windsor residence.

Sources said Harry and Meghan operated Frogmore, on the Queen’s Windsor estate, with a ‘skeleton staff’ and no-one was being made redundant. But it is understood the employees are having to switch jobs as a ‘knock-on effect’ of the couple’s decision to relocate to North America for at least part of the year.

The revelation will fuel speculation among palace officials that the Duchess of Sussex, in particular, will never return to Britain to live in a ‘meaningful’ way. 

When they made their announcement last week, Harry and Meghan made clear they wished to keep the five-bedroom home in Windsor, which was a gift from the Queen. It was previously five separate staff cottages but was knocked into one larger residence, controversially using £2.4 million ($3.14 million) of taxpayers’ money.

On their new website, Harry and Meghan state that the Grade II-listed building in Windsor Home Park was owned by the Queen and was refurbished from the Sovereign Grant, given to her by the Government, as part of her responsibility to ‘maintain the upkeep of buildings with historical significance’. 

The duke and duchess said they wished to continue to use it as their official residence ‘as they continue to support the monarchy and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom’.

It is not clear whether the Queen will accede to that request, although sources have indicated she is privately unhappy at the amount of money spent on it when the couple will be there for significantly less time.

Also on Thursday, DailyMail.com obtained exclusive photos of Meghan’s ex-husband Trevor Engelson visiting a hair salon in Beverly Hills.  

It marked the first time Engelson had been photographed in public in several months and since Meghan and Harry’s announcement.   

Engleson politely declined to comment on the royal drama as he left the salon and got into his Porsche 911.   

The Queen, Harry's 93-year-old grandmother, was said to be particularly hurt by his and Meghan's decision to step down as senior royals. She is seen on January 12 as the royal family attended Sunday Service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk

The Queen, Harry's 93-year-old grandmother, was said to be particularly hurt by his and Meghan's decision to step down as senior royals. She is seen on January 12 as the royal family attended Sunday Service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk

The Queen, Harry’s 93-year-old grandmother, was said to be particularly hurt by his and Meghan’s decision to step down as senior royals. She is seen on January 12 as the royal family attended Sunday Service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk

Harry and Meghan have indicated that they intended to keep their home at Frogmore Cottage (pictured) in Windsor, which was a gift from the Queen, though reports emerged this week that staff at the residence are being 'let go'

Harry and Meghan have indicated that they intended to keep their home at Frogmore Cottage (pictured) in Windsor, which was a gift from the Queen, though reports emerged this week that staff at the residence are being 'let go'

Harry and Meghan have indicated that they intended to keep their home at Frogmore Cottage (pictured) in Windsor, which was a gift from the Queen, though reports emerged this week that staff at the residence are being ‘let go’

The 43-year-old Hollywood producer from from Great Neck, New York, began dating Meghan in 2004 before she became famous on Suits. They dated for six years before getting engaged in 2010.

The couple married in Jamaica in September, 2011 in front of 100 family members and friends.

But within weeks of their wedding Meghan won her break-out role on TV legal drama ‘Suits,’ and spent months each year filming in Toronto, Canada while Engelson stayed at their home in Los Angeles.

The distance eventually took its toll and they separated in the summer of 2013.

Their marriage officially ended in 2014 with ‘irreconcilable differences’ cited in their divorce papers. 

Engelson has since moved on, however, marrying nutritionist and heiress Tracey Kurland, 33, on May 11 last year, almost exactly a year after Meghan and Prince Harry tied the knot. 

Meghan Markle's ex-husband Trevor Engelson stopped by a hair salon in Beverly Hills for an appointment on Thursday. It was the first time he'd been seen since his ex-wife's bombshell announcement that she and Prince Harry are quitting senior royal duties and moving to North America part-time

Meghan Markle's ex-husband Trevor Engelson stopped by a hair salon in Beverly Hills for an appointment on Thursday. It was the first time he'd been seen since his ex-wife's bombshell announcement that she and Prince Harry are quitting senior royal duties and moving to North America part-time

Meghan Markle’s ex-husband Trevor Engelson stopped by a hair salon in Beverly Hills for an appointment on Thursday. It was the first time he’d been seen since his ex-wife’s bombshell announcement that she and Prince Harry are quitting senior royal duties and moving to North America part-time

Engleson politely declined to comment on the Royal drama as left a hair salon in Beverly Hills on Thursday

Engleson politely declined to comment on the Royal drama as left a hair salon in Beverly Hills on Thursday

Engleson politely declined to comment on the Royal drama as left a hair salon in Beverly Hills on Thursday

The Hollywood producer was casually dressed in a back waffle-knit pull-over, black pants and black sneakers as he pulled up to the salon in his Porsche 911

The Hollywood producer was casually dressed in a back waffle-knit pull-over, black pants and black sneakers as he pulled up to the salon in his Porsche 911

The Hollywood producer was casually dressed in a back waffle-knit pull-over, black pants and black sneakers as he pulled up to the salon in his Porsche 911 

Engelson and Meghan (pictured in 2010) began dating in 2004, married in 2011 and divorced in 2014

Engelson and Meghan (pictured in 2010) began dating in 2004, married in 2011 and divorced in 2014

The producer has since moved on, marrying nutritionist and heiress Tracey Kurland (pictured together) last May

The producer has since moved on, marrying nutritionist and heiress Tracey Kurland (pictured together) last May

Engelson and Meghan (left in 2010) began dating in 2004, married in 2011 and divorced in 2014. The producer has since moved on, marrying nutritionist and heiress Tracey Kurland (right together) last May

A close friend of Meghan’s weighed in on the royal drama in an interview with DailyMail.com published Thursday, revealing that the duchess feels she can now do what she pleases without asking for permission after her decision to quit as a senior royal

‘Meghan felt she had to escape because living within the royal confines was soul crushing,’ the friend said. 

The insider friend explained that the Meghan feels she can ‘finally breathe’ since she relinquished her royal duties and has free reign over her life again.

They also explained that Meghan felt that living within the royal family confines was ‘soul crushing’ and she didn’t want her son around such a ‘toxic environment’, deciding to leave in part for his benefit. 

The friend said: ‘She told her inner circle of friends that her soul was being crushed and that the decision to leave was a matter of life or death – meaning the death of her spirit.

‘She also felt like she couldn’t be the best mother to Archie if she wasn’t being her true, authentic self. Something she felt she couldn’t be in the royal family confines.

‘She said she didn’t want Archie picking up on her stress and anxiety. She felt like it was a toxic environment for him because there was too much tension and pent-up frustrations.’

Now that the Queen has agreed to allow her and Harry to split their time between the UK and North America, the friend said Meghan ‘has a lot up her sleeve that she wants to do’.

Meghan ‘will continue making surprise visits to different places that help women and children. She wants to feel embraced by her community, something she says she didn’t feel in the UK. She felt stifled and restricted.’ 

DailyMail.com revealed earlier this week that Meghan had the full support of her mother Doria Ragland to leave, as a source said the 63-year-old ‘was really worried about Meghan… and is relieved that her daughter is putting her mental health and well being first’.

The insider said Meghan was ‘miserable in the UK’ and ‘wasn’t sleeping well and started having anxiety attacks about her future’.   

Meghan broke cover for the first time on Tuesday to visit a women's shelter in Canada's poorest neighborhood

Meghan broke cover for the first time on Tuesday to visit a women's shelter in Canada's poorest neighborhood

Meghan broke cover for the first time on Tuesday to visit a women’s shelter in Canada’s poorest neighborhood 

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