I moved from Canada to the UK 7 years ago, and while I love London, I can see why Meghan Markle prefers my home country
I moved from near Toronto to London nearly seven years ago. Like Meghan Markle, I've spent the past few years living with a Brit, and while I love London, my job, and the friends I've made, I can see why she and Prince Harry want to move to my home country. Canadians are among the friendliest people you'll ever meet — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even told the couple that in Canada they're "among friends and always welcome here." The landscape across Canada is stunning and varied, the cities and towns are diverse, and it gets real — and sunny — seasons. Ultimately, though, for Markle and for me, being in Canada means being closer to family and friends. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry love Canada, and as someone who has lived in both the UK and the Great White North, it's easy to see why they'd want to move there. When the royal couple officially give up their royal duties in the spring, they plan to split their time between the UK and Canada, Buckingham Palace confirmed this month, though rumors suggest they could move to the North American country permanently. The former actress spent seven years in Toronto filming "Suits," and Canada appears to have remained special for her and Harry ever since. Toronto was the location of one of their first public appearances as a couple.
Instead of spending Christmas with the royal family, last year the Sussexes opted to take baby Archie to Canada for the holidays. Then, shortly after announcing their plans to "step back" from the royal family this month, Markle and Archie returned to Canada, where they have remained. Nearly seven years ago, I moved from just outside Toronto to London to pursue a career in journalism. While I still absolutely love my life in the capital, there are certain things I miss about my home country — and it's easy to see the appeal for Harry and Markle as they look toward the future. Canadians are among the friendliest people you'll meet
When announcing that they were spending Christmas in Canada, a statement on behalf of the couple read: "They are enjoying sharing the warmth of the Canadian people and the beauty of the landscape with their young son." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by tweeting a welcome message to the family, 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." This friendly openness is one of the main things I miss about Canada while living in the UK. While this is not representative of the entire country — head north to the likes of Liverpool and strangers will openly say hello — people are definitely less warm and chatty in the capital than they are at home, and strangers will even look at you like you're crazy if you attempt to start a conversation. I'll never forget arriving at Heathrow years ago, weighed down with two heavy suitcases and being surprised that not a single person offered to help. The landscape is stunning — and incredibly varied Having spent most of my life in southeastern Canada or Europe, I can't attest to the beauty of the west coast of Canada, where Harry and Markle appear to be spending most of their time. But the landscape across the country is breathtaking. From forests, lakes, and beaches to mountains and waterfalls, you can find just about everything the outdoors can offer, which would certainly be appealing to a couple who are used to constantly trying to dodge hordes of press. Here's the view from my balcony overlooking Quebec's incredible Lac Sacacomie, where I stayed for a wedding in August 2017.
And sunset at Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world that was just a 30-minute drive north of my house growing up. This is where I spent sunny summer days as a child.
There's also a seemingly endless number of lakes. Here's Lake Simcoe in my hometown of Barrie, Ontario, a short walk from my parents' house.
You never get bored of taking walks when the view looks like this.
The cities have a lot to offer And while most people visit Canada to spend time in nature, its metropolitan areas are pretty great, too. Growing up north of Toronto, I had access to concerts and theatre, sporting venues, restaurants, and great food in a place that happened to also be pretty beautiful, right on Lake Ontario. Here's the view from the ferry that takes you to and from the Toronto Islands, home to beaches, housing, parks, and even an amusement park.
The CN Tower is pretty impressive.
As is the Rogers Centre, the 50,000-capacity stadium that sits below it and is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.
The towns can be quaint too While it's easy to assume the UK would come out on top when it comes to cute towns and villages, Canada can also deliver on that front. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a perfect example. Situated close to the iconic Niagara Falls, this is a step back in time town packed with gorgeous streets and flowers, adorable B&Bs, and more wineries — yes, Canada makes its own wine — than you can count. I can see Markle, who has been vocal about her love of wine in the past, being a fan.
Cottages are the perfect laid-back break There are plenty of places to get away from it all too. If you live in Canada, chances are you know someone who has a cottage, and is willing to host you for a weekend of sunshine, swimming, boat rides, campfires, and drinks on the dock. There's a huge difference between the big lakeside lodges I'm talking about and the type of "cottage" you'll find in the UK — tiny, cozy houses like the one in "The Holiday." This is what every weekend in the summer looks like for a lot of Canadians (with the common addition of a few golden retrievers):
Canada gets real seasons and all are sunny While I won't pretend I miss the often harsh Canadian winters and subfreezing temperatures, I do miss experiencing a consistently hot summer every year.
As well as a bright spring, a brisk fall, and a snowy winter. Snow can be pretty magical, as Meghan and Harry's son Archie recently found out.
Even when there's tons of snow on the ground, Canada is still beautiful thanks to regular sunshine, which is something the UK doesn't see a lot of. Canadians don't let the weather get them down, either — even on a bitterly cold day, you'll see countless people out for a walk (usually with their dogs).
Ultimately, Canada means being closer to family and friends I, like Markle, have spent the past few years in London living with a Brit. I have a job that I love and have made some great friends over the years, but I definitely miss the support system I have back in Canada. Having grown up in the US and spent so many years living in Toronto, Markle's close circle is largely in North America too.
Markle once named her mother, Doria Ragland, in a list of "10 women who have changed my life" for Glamour, calling her a "best friend." "We can just have so much fun together, and yet I'll still find so much solace in her support," she said. I consider both of my parents to be among my closest friends, so even if the country's landscapes, seasons, and friendliness weren't enough, I can see why being closer to family — both blood-related and chosen — would be a huge factor in Markle's decision to move to the True North, strong and free. Read more: Prince Harry implied that it was his decision to leave the royal family, not Meghan Markle's 10 warning signs that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were ready to leave the royal family Harry and Meghan's big 'step back': This is what it looks like when a monarchy can't hold itself together A former royal bodyguard told us the security challenges Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could face in Canada Racism in the British media may have been a driving force behind Meghan Markle's 'step back' from the royal familyJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Stop using champagne flutes — this is the best way to drink champagne
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How the royal family will change now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are quitting their roles as senior royals
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to quit their roles as senior royals is going...The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to quit their roles as senior royals is going to have a major impact on the royal family. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their plans to take a step back from royal duties in an Instagram post on Wednesday, saying that they planned to "work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen." Although the couple said they plan to still honor the patronages they represent on behalf of the Queen, it's likely they won't be able to continue these duties in the same way as before. "If they were to withdraw from public life, then the organizations with which they are associated in various capacities would be reallocated to other members of the royal family," royal commentator Joe Little previously told Insider. This is especially true since they also aim to launch their own charitable foundation this year, and it is not known whether the organization will have the financial support of the monarch. The couple's decision will also impact Archie and any of their future children, who will not be raised using the Sovereign Grant. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are giving up their roles as senior royals, and their decision will change the dynamic of the royal family as we know it. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the news on Wednesday, writing on Instagram that they "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." “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 Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST Royal experts predicted this outcome months ago, after the couple spoke about their struggles with royal life in emotional interviews for their royal tour documentary. For the first time, Markle addressed how the media scrutiny had affected her mental health, saying that "not many people have asked if I'm OK." Meanwhile, Harry said he "will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum." "There's a couple here who are saying that the intense media scrutiny of their lives is making them question whether they want to continue to be royals, effectively," Camilla Tominey, a royal correspondent, said on the UK breakfast show "This Morning" when the documentary aired. Now that the couple are planning to give up their status as senior royals, it's worth looking at how this will change not only their lives, but the new dynamic of the royal family moving forward. Some of their royal duties could be passed on to other members of the family In their official statement, Harry and Markle said they plan "to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages." However, considering the fact the couple plan to become financially independent while successfully launching their own charity, it's possible the couple won't perform their charitable endeavors on behalf of the Queen in the same way as before. The royal family carries out more than 2,000 official engagements throughout the UK and the world every year, according to its official website. As senior royals, Harry and Markle, along with Prince William and Kate Middleton, are responsible for many of these. In October last year, they carried out a 10-day tour of Africa on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, and they are individually responsible for the events of many patronages and organizations. When it comes to the charities they support, each senior royal has a focus. Kate Middleton's is early childhood development, while Prince William's is mental health initiatives. For Harry it's environmental causes, and for Markle it's gender equality. The Duchess of Sussex will attend @OneYoungWorld opening ceremony this evening to continue her support for this amazing collective of global youth ambassadors. Her Royal Highness was a counsellor for OYW in Dublin in 2014 as well as in Ottawa in 2016. This evening she again joins world leaders and activists to celebrate the youth of today as they tackle some of the world’s greatest problems. She is proud to attend as Vice President of The Queens Commonwealth Trust and to continue her long-standing commitment to this very important summit. Later this week The Duchess will hold a round table discussion with several of the OYW young leaders to address the issue of gender equity worldwide, and how we can all play our part to reach equality for all. Ahead of the opening ceremony tonight, we take a look back at some photos and moments from HRH attending One Young World in the past. Stay tuned for highlights from tonight’s event! #OYW2019 Photo ©SussexRoyal Video: One Young World A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Oct 22, 2019 at 3:45am PDT on Oct 22, 2019 at 3:45am PDT According to Joe Little, a royal expert, the couple won't be able to carry out these roles in the same way as they used to. "This is uncharted territory, but if they were to withdraw from public life, then the organizations with which they are associated in various capacities would be reallocated to other members of the royal family," Little, the managing editor of Majesty magazine, previously told Insider before the news was announced. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently announced plans to start their own charity, Sussex Royal, after splitting from Middleton and William's Royal Foundation in 2019. The charity won't officially start operating until later this year. However, how it will operate — and whether it will receive any funding from the royal family — is yet to be seen. Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal commentator, recently told Insider that the couple were "both extremely unhappy in conventional royal roles." Harry has echoed that, saying in 2017 that no one in the royal family actually wanted to be king or queen. "We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy," he told Newsweek. "We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people." He added: "Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don't think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time." Considering this is something the prince has been thinking about for a long time, perhaps he never truly intended to operate the charity on a royal basis. Unlike Archie, their next child will not be a royal baby Harry and Markle spent $3 million of taxpayers' money renovating their new home, Frogmore Cottage, just months before quitting their roles as senior royals. The couple will no longer receive funds like this from the Queen's Sovereign Grant, which goes toward supporting her and those who carry out royal duties on her behalf. However, they said they intend to reside in Frogmore Cottage while spending part of the time in North America. By the time the couple have another child, however, it's likely they may have achieved their goal of complete financial independence from the royal family. They have not gone into detail on how they will earn their money, however, they are far from the first royals to do so. For instance, the Queen's granddaughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, chose to pursue professional careers rather than work as full-time members of the royal family. Both princesses attend some royal events, including royal weddings, however, they do not carry out duties on behalf of the Queen. When Archie was born, Harry and Markle were incredibly secretive, avoiding the traditional post-birth photo call on the hospital steps and revealing the hospital their son was born in only when his birth certificate was released. Despite this — and the fact he wasn't given a title — Archie was estimated to have boosted the UK economy by £1.25 billion (about $1.6 billion). Now that the couple do not have this same sense of responsibility towards the British taxpayer, they could potentially refrain from disclosing details such as their next child's name to the public. It's difficult to imagine the impact a "non-royal baby" would have on the economy if the public never see a glimpse of him or her, and don't know anything about them. At 5 months old, Archie attended his first royal engagement during his parents' tour of Africa, where he was introduced to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Archie's future brother or sister, on the other hand, would likely not attend important historical engagements, such as the Queen's birthday parade. Other royal children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis — have attended in recent years, and Harry and Markle attend every year. On the other hand, it's possible the child may be included in some royal traditions or events. The couple said in their statement that they wanted to raise Archie "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." What that next chapter entails is something we'll just have to wait and see. However, the way things unfold will likely have a major impact on the history books. Read more: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got a $3 million, taxpayer-funded home renovation before quitting as senior royals Meghan Markle and Prince Harry explain on their website why they're pulling away from royal life, and it has to do with money and the British press Meghan Markle says her friends warned her not to date Prince Harry because 'the British tabloids will destroy your life' Meghan Markle got emotional in a rare candid interview where she said she's struggling to deal with the fame Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A 45-year-long study discovered trends in successful hyper-intelligent children
'Harry Potter' star Daniel Radcliffe says he feels 'really terrible' for Meghan Markle because of the scrutiny she faces
"Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe says the media attention he faced while filming the movie franchise..."Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe says the media attention he faced while filming the movie franchise is just a fraction of what Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are going through. The actor added that he "feels really terrible" for the Duchess of Sussex, who only joined the royal family in 2018. "That's why I always thought their relationship was sweet, cause I was like, 'man, she must love you if she wants to get involved in this crazy life," Radcliffe told People Now. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Daniel Radcliffe says he "feels really terrible" for Meghan Markle because of the media scrutiny she's faced since becoming a royal. While the actor admitted he doesn't "take a huge interest" in the royal family, Radcliffe told People Now he is aware that "Meghan Markle is being treated to the full force of the British media." "That's why I always thought their relationship was sweet, cause I was like, 'Man, she must love you if she wants to get involved in this crazy life,'" Radcliffe said, referring to Markle's marriage to Prince Harry. "It must be insane. I cannot imagine ... you know, what I have and what I went through is like a fraction of what they have and went through. "And they went through it from birth," Radcliffe added, referring to Princes Harry and William. "They didn't even get like, you know, 10 years like I did. "So while I'm not into the institution of the monarchy, I have a huge amount of respect and empathy for them." The Duchess of Sussex recently said she's struggling to deal with the fame in an emotional ITV interview. When asked how the increased media attention had affected her physical and mental health, Markle said: "Look, any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging. "And then when you have a newborn, you know?" "Also, thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I'm OK," she added. "But it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes." The duchess later announced plans to sue British tabloid the Mail on Sunday, after the newspaper published private excerpts from a letter she sent to her father earlier this year. A legal spokesperson for Markle said at the time that publishing excerpts of the letter was "part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband." Read more: Meghan Markle got emotional in a rare candid interview where she said she's struggling to deal with the fame Meghan Markle's new lawsuit could change how the tabloids treat the royal family How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's new public approach to royal life has affected their relationships with the rest of the familyJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Most maps of Louisiana aren't entirely right. Here's what the state really looks like.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and baby Archie begin their royal tour of Africa on Monday. The...Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and baby Archie begin their royal tour of Africa on Monday. The visit, which is their first official tour as a family, will see the duke return to his "second home." The couple will begin with joint engagements in Cape Town, South Africa before splitting up for solo activities, with Harry travelling to Botswana, Angola, and Malawi. Here's everything that's on their schedule. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are bringing baby Archie along to their first official tour of Africa on Monday. The tour, which kicks off on September 23 and ends on October 2, will see Prince Harry return to his "second home." Read more: Here's how the royal family would change if Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moved to the US "In just a few weeks our family will be taking its first official tour to Africa, a region of the world that over the past two decades has been a second home to me," the royal wrote on Instagram earlier this month. "Our team has helped create a meaningful programme that we're so excited to share with you. On a personal note, I can't wait to introduce my wife and son to South Africa! We'll see all of you very soon." Harry and Markle will undertake joint engagements in Cape Town for the first three days of the tour. Then, the couple will split up to attend solo engagements, with Harry travelling to Botswana and Markle remaining in Cape Town. Here's the full itinerary below: Monday, September 23 — Wednesday, September 25: South Africa The tour will kick off in Cape Town, where Harry and Markle will watch a children's workshop that teaches self-defense and female empowerment, before moving on to the District Six Museum and a community cooking class at the nearby Homecoming Centre. On Tuesday, the family will travel to Monwabisi Beach to learn about the mental health charity, Waves for Change, and another charity, The Lunchbox Fund. Harry and Markle will then meet with Dr Thomas Maes, leader of the Commonwealth Litter Programme, an initiative to tackle plastic waste in oceans. Harry will travel to Seal Island, Kalk Bay with the City of Cape Town Marine Unit to learn about their role in combating the poaching of abalone (shellfish). Read more: Meghan Markle left her first royal engagement since giving birth to get back to baby Archie for 'feed time' In the afternoon, Harry and Markle will visit the Bo Kaap area before attending a reception at the British High Commissioner's Residence. The following morning, the couple will meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Tutu before splitting up for individual engagements. That afternoon, Markle will visit the Woodstock Exchange to meet female entrepreneurs and investors working in technology. Meanwhile, Harry will travel to Botswana. Thursday, September 26: South Africa, Botswana, and Angola On Thursday, Harry will plant trees with schoolchildren at Chobe Forest Tree Reserve. He will then pay a visit to a local project run by his charity, Sentebale, before travelling to Chobe National Park, where he will dedicate an area to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy. The duke will then travel to Angola, where he will spend the evening at a HALO Trust demining camp. Back in Cape Town, the duchess will attend a private "Women in the Public Service" breakfast at the High Commission. Friday, September 27 — Sunday, September 29: Angola and Malawi On Friday, Harry will detonate a mine at a demining field outside Dirico before travelling to Huambo, where Princess Diana was famously photographed walking through a minefield in 1997. The area has now been transformed to a busy street with schools, shops, and houses. He will then visit the Huambo Orthopaedic Centre, also visited by his mother in 1997. The centre has been renamed in Diana's honor, and this will be unveiled by Harry during his visit. A senior palace source told The Sun: "This is all about wanting to fulfill his mother's legacy." In the evening, he will attend a reception at the British Ambassador's Residence in Luanda. On Saturday, the duke will visit the Presidential Palace before making his way to the Maternity Hospital Lucrécia Paim, where he will see the work of "Born Free to Shine," an initiative which focuses on preventing the HIV/AIDS transmission from mothers to babies. On Sunday, the duke will travel to Malawi, where he will visit the Nalikule College of Education in Lilongwe. In the evening, he will attend a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner. The duchess has no official engagements listed on these days. Monday, September 30 — Tuesday, October 1: Malawi and South Africa On Monday, Harry will fly to Liwonde National Park, where he will watch an anti-poaching demonstration exercise by local rangers. The following day, he will visit Mauwa Health Centre, Pharmacy in a Box and Youth Reproductive Health Outreach programme. Back in Cape Town, Markle will attend a roundtable discussion with Association of Commonwealth Universities in Johannesburg, to discuss the challenges young women may face in accessing higher education. This is something the royal has spoken about in the past. Speaking to students at the University of South Pacific during her tour of Fiji last October, the royal said it was scholarships, financial aid, and an on-campus job that "went directly towards my tuition." However, her estranged father, Thomas Markle, recently spoke out against the claims, saying "that is completely untrue." "I paid every penny for her tutition and I have bank statements to prove it," he added. Read more: Thomas Markle says Meghan is lying about paying her way through college The duchess will then visit a local school which receives UK Aid funding for its work to raise awareness of and tackle sexual violence in schools. Meanwhile, the duke will travel back to South Africa, where the family will reunite for the final leg of the tour. Wednesday, October 2: South Africa Harry and Markle will resume joint engagements for the final day of tour, beginning with a visit to a township near Johannesburg, where they will meet with local youth and entrepreneurs. They will then meet with Mrs Graça Machel, widow of the late former President Mandela, before attending a reception to celebrate the UK and South Africa's business and investment relationship. For their final engagement, the duke and duchess will attend an audience with President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe. The family will travel back to London that evening. Read more: Meghan Markle's close friend Misha Nonoo told us why the criticism she faces is 'really unjust' Meghan Markle's birthday message to Prince Harry featured a never-before-seen photo of baby Archie Prince Harry just took a leaf out of Meghan Markle's book by defying tradition and shutting his own car doorJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Nxivm leader Keith Raniere has been convicted. Here's what happened inside his sex-slave ring that recruited actresses and two billionaire heiresses.