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Meghan Markle was spotted driving in Canada over the weekend as she reacquainted herself with her former home. The American-born actress spent six years living in Toronto while filming her TV series Suits, and recently shocked the world (and the royal family) when she and husband Prince Harry announced they would be splitting their time between the U.K. and Canada.

Meghan was reportedly driving herself around Vancouver Island on Sunday, January 12, with an insider telling US Weekly that Markle was running errands and parked in front of a drugstore. Maybe that doesn’t seem like especially juicy gossip, but for a woman who has spent the past three years with a full security detail everywhere she went, strolling the aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart probably feels exhilarating. Get those Optimum points, Meghan!

Meghan and Harry spent Christmas in Canada with their 8-month-old son Archie before the new parents returned to the U.K. alone, leaving Archie in the care of a nanny. The pair made the decision to travel without their son likely knowing the media frenzy that would erupt when they announced on January 8 that they were stepping away from their duties as members of the royal family. Any new parent knows that engaging in serious discussions is nearly impossible with a baby on your hip, let alone telling the Queen of England that you’re leaving Buckingham Palace. Leaving Archie in Canada was definitely a wise choice.

Markle has now reunited with her young son, but it appears that Harry remains in U.K. as he continues talks with his family and staff. On January 8, Harry and Meghan announced on Instagram that they planned to “balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” adding that they hoped the move would “enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

 

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“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. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The news sent shock waves through the media and allegedly came as a surprise to the royal family. On Monday, the Queen released a statement, saying “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” adding “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”

Harry reportedly met with the Queen, as well as his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, at Sandringham on Monday to discuss the new arrangement. It’s still unclear who will pay for Meghan and Harry’s security detail and whether the couple would keep their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

RELATED: Who will be paying for Harry and Meghan’s security while they’re in Canada?