Meghan Markle is back in Britain: Duchess of Sussex is seen for first time since Megxit after arriving in UK as she and Prince Harry leave £8,000-a-night Goring Hotel next door to Buckingham Palace

  • Meghan Markle will attend Endeavour Fun Awards at Mansion House tonight 
  • It will be Sussexes’ first joint official engagement since announcing step down 
  • Couple have not been seen together at royal engagement for almost two months 
  • Visited Canada House in London on January 7 to thank nation for hosting them 

The Duchess of Sussex today left the exclusive Goring Hotel after arriving back in London for her first official public appearance in Britain following the Megxit crisis.

Meghan wore a camel coat and £615 Aquazzura black heels and smiled as she left the London hotel, where rooms cost up to £8,400 a night, near Buckingham Palace.

Her husband Prince Harry was also spotted leaving the hotel just moments earlier as a member of the concierge team held an umbrella over his head in the rain.

Meghan and Harry, who are thought to have left their nine-month-old baby Archie in Canada, will be at the Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House in London tonight.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured at Canada House in London during what was their last official royal engagement on January 7 

The annual event celebrates the achievements of wounded, sick and injured servicemen and women who have taken part in sporting and adventure challenges. 

This evening will mark the first joint official royal engagement by the Duke and Duchess since revealing that they would step down from royal duties on March 31.

Why The Goring Hotel is still a big favourite with the Royal Family 

The exclusive Goring Hotel first opened its doors in 1910 and describes itself as ‘impeccably English’.

The Queen leaves the Goring Hotel with David Morgan-Hewitt in December 2016

Located just a few minutes from Buckingham Palace, the privately-owned hotel was given the highest honour when it was chosen by the Middleton family as their London base for the Royal Wedding in 2011.

Still run by the Goring family, the hotel has 69 suites and rooms and one of the largest private gardens in London.

The hotel’s handy location has made it a firm favourite with the Royals over the years.

The coronations of George VI and Queen Elizabeth II saw the hotel filled with royalty from around the world and the Queen Mother loved the hotels Eggs Drumkilbo dish (served with lobster) that is still sold in the hotel’s Dining Room today.

The Goring is a long-time favourite of the royals, with the Duchess of Cambridge staying in its Royal Suite on the night before her wedding to William in 2011.

It is not clear whether Meghan and Harry are staying at the hotel, but if they were then they would possibly also reside in the Suite, which costs £8,400 a night.

It is the only hotel to have received the Royal Warrant, awarded in 2013, for services to hospitality and was a firm favourite with the Queen Mother.

She was a big fan of a lobster dish called Eggs Drumkilbo which is still on the menu in the Michelin-starred restaurant The Dining Room.

The Queen enlisted its pastry chefs to bake the cake for Prince Charles’ christening in 1948 and has regularly chosen the establishment for her staff Christmas party.

The 110-year-old hotel is a favourite with the wealthy and famous and is still privately owned by the Goring family.

It is fitted with carpets made by the French firm which supplied the Palace of Versailles while some of its rooms have lighting that adapts with the seasons.

Harry waved to well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace yesterday as he was driven away in a Range Rover after a series of internal meetings with his team.

The Queen was holding one-to-one audiences in her London residence yesterday, although it was not clear whether Harry spoke to his 93-year-old grandmother.

It came after they had a ‘heart to heart’ for four hours in her private apartments at Windsor Castle on Sunday about his imminent departure from the Royal Family.

The Duke and Duchess were pictured leaving the exclusive Goring Hotel in London (file image)

Harry is said to have requested the meeting, and the Queen – who last saw her grandson during their showdown at Sandringham in January after Harry broke the news that he and Meghan were quitting – was happy to agree.

What are Harry and Meghan’s engagements for the rest of March? 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the Endeavour Fund Awards in London tonight in one of their final engagements before stepping down as senior royals at the end of the month.

Harry and Meghan will celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in sporting and adventure challenges over the last year.

Tomorrow, Harry will be at the official opening of the Silverstone Experience with motor-racing champion Lewis Hamilton. The couple will also attend the Mountbatten Music Festival at the Royal Albert Hall this Saturday before Meghan undertakes an engagement for International Women’s Day the following day on Sunday.

They will both attend the Commonwealth Service at the Royal Albert Hall next Monday, where they will be reunited with Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate – who are currently on tour in Ireland. 

Despite quitting a senior royals, Harry is expected to attend the London Marathon in April in his capacity as patron. The Duke and Duchess will also attend the Invictus Games in Holland in May.

The Queen is believed to have told her grandson that she was keen to keep the door open for him and Meghan to return and stressed that he would be welcomed back from Canada at any time.

Harry, who has always enjoyed a warm relationship with his grandmother, was apparently keen to ‘clear the air’ before he and Meghan formally step down as working royals on March 31.

He has been staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s home on the Queen’s Windsor estate, since returning to the UK last week to undertake a handful of final official engagements.

He and Meghan have agreed to pay back £2.4million in taxpayer funds used to rebuild the property in light of their decision to relocate to North America.

It is understood that he and his grandmother shared a light lunch and tea as they discussed his future.

The Queen was left deeply upset after Harry and Meghan decided to suddenly announce their plans to step down and move abroad in early January in an apparent effort to bounce the Royal Family into agreeing to their demands to retain the trappings of royal life, while pursuing independent commercial careers.

And the couple were taken aback when Buckingham Palace made clear its displeasure and insisted that Harry would have to relinquish his HRH title as a non working royal and hand back their official patronages and his military positions, as well as dropping their plans to market themselves as ‘Sussex Royal’.

The Duke of Sussex waves to well-wishers as he leaves Buckingham Palace in London yesterday afternoon following a series of internal meetings with his team

The Queen is said to be ‘very sad’ that she sees so little of Harry and Meghan’s son Archie, her great-grandson.

How the Endeavour Fund Awards celebrate the achievements of injured servicemen

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be the guests of honour at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House in London this evening.

The event celebrates the achievements of wounded, sick and injured servicemen and women who have taken part in sporting and adventure challenges.

Harry will give a short speech, and the Sussexes will hand out the awards, as well as attending a pre-ceremony reception.

The four awards are: Recognising Achievement Award, Celebrating Excellence Award, Henry Worsley Award and the new Community Impact Award.

The Endeavour Fund is a body set up by the Royal Foundation to finance inspiring sporting and adventure projects aiding the recovery of veterans.

The meeting at the weekend was said to have been ‘productive and positive’. One source said Harry was seen leaving ‘deep in thought’.

But the couple have decided to leave Archie in Canada, meaning his British family haven’t seen him for more than four months.

Last autumn, American ex-actress Meghan opened up about her struggles with royal life in an ITV documentary filmed on their Africa tour.

She said she had tried to cope with the pressures by putting on a ‘stiff upper lip’ but she was not prepared for the intensity of tabloid interest.

‘It’s not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. You have got to thrive,’ she added. Meghan told presenter Tom Bradby: ‘Not many people have asked if I’m OK.’

The Sussexes attended the previous annual Endeavour Fund Awards ceremony in February 2019, when the duchess was heavily pregnant with Archie.

They were last seen together on an official engagement on January 7 when they visited Canada House in London to thank the nation for hosting them during their festive break in the Commonwealth country.

The Queen meets President of Malta George Vella and his wife Miriam Vella during an audience at Buckingham Palace yesterday

The following day, sixth in line Harry and former Suits star Meghan plunged the royal family into a period of turmoil when they announced they wanted to step back as senior royals and become financially independent – a move dubbed Megxit by the press.

Security headache as Meghan leaves Archie behind in Canada 

The Duchess of Sussex is expected to have left her baby son Archie in Canada as she returns to the UK today, causing an expensive headache for her police protection commanders.

Metropolitan Police officers guarding them and Prince Harry have arranged major security operations in both nations – at huge cost to the British taxpayer.

Canada, which has contributed towards the cost of protecting them since they moved to Vancouver Island last November, is withdrawing cover because of the couple’s ‘change in status’.

This means the bill for providing round-the-clock protection for the family will fall entirely on British taxpayers.

Experts say the Sussexes’ decision to live abroad, as well as their insistence on retaining their official police protection, will see the bill for guarding them rocket – and prove a huge strain on manpower.

The extra security cost of keeping nine-month-old Archie in Canada without his parents this week could be £50,000, the Sun on Sunday reported. It is also likely to be a disappointment to the Queen and senior royals, who haven’t seen him for months. 

A summit of senior royals was later convened by the Queen at Sandringham to discuss the issue, with Harry sitting down for talks with his grandmother, father the Prince of Wales and brother the Duke of Cambridge.

It was eventually announced they would give up royal duties, split their time between Canada and the UK, with the majority spent in North America, no longer be known as HRHs, and their lives as working royals would end on March 31.

Tonight, Harry will give a short speech, and the Sussexes will hand out the awards, as well as attending a pre-ceremony reception.

The four awards are: Recognising Achievement Award, Celebrating Excellence Award, Henry Worsley Award and the new Community Impact Award.

The Endeavour Fund is a body set up by the Royal Foundation to finance inspiring sporting and adventure projects aiding the recovery of veterans. 

Today’s engagement is part of a final run of official appearances by the couple.

Tomorrow, Harry will join Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton at the official opening of the Silverstone Experience, a museum about British motor racing.

Harry and Meghan will attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall on March 7 and the following day the duchess will mark International Women’s Day.

The duke and duchess will join the Queen and other royals at the Commonwealth Day service in Westminster Abbey on March 9, their last official appearance as HRHs.

The countdown to Megxit: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s last five engagements before their time as working royals ends

March 5: Endeavour Fund Awards (Harry and Meghan)

Tonight, Harry and Meghan will attend the Endeavour Fund Awards which recognises wounded, injured or sick military personnel and veterans who have gone on to use sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.

Harry has attended every ceremony since the inaugural one in 2017, which he went to with his brother William. He went to the event in 2018 and 2019 with Meghan. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pose with nominees and guests at the Endeavour Fund Awards at Drapers’ Hall in London on February 7, 2019

The Endeavour Fund was led by his and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation which saw them step up the drive to help wounded service personnel.

The Fund has brought about programmes such as Climb2Recovery, led by former Royal Engineer Neil Heritage Team Endeavour Racing, which was started by former Infantryman Stu Croxford and carried on by Royal Engineer veteran Brian Seggie.

Harry speaks to guests at a reception for the Endeavour Fund at St James’s Palace in 2015

It has also resulted in an expedition to Oman organised by a veteran Rifleman, Matt Fisher, which saw him and the team spend several days crossing the desert with Fund ambassador Levison Wood.

Harry has said of the Fund: ‘I am continually amazed by the tenacity, fortitude and unshakable humour displayed by the men and women who sign up to run races, cross oceans, climb mountains or take on challenges few would even contemplate.’

March 6: Silverstone Experience (Harry)

Tomorrow, Harry will join British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton at the official opening of the Silverstone Experience.

The much-anticipated museum – which the Duke has been backing for years – will tell the story of the past, present and future of British motor racing.

Prince Harry (right) meets racing drivers Jenson Button (left), Lewis Hamilton (second right) and former F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart (second left) at Silverstone in July 2011

Harry official launched the project for the £19.3million visitor attraction in March 2018 and is the patron of the museum in Northamptonshire.

It was built inside a former Wellington bomber hanger located within the grounds of the track and officials hope it more than 500,000 people a year will visit.

Prince Harry, his cousin George McCorquodale and his mother Princess Diana are shown the workings of a Williams F1 car at Silverstone by driver David Coulthard in July 1994

Harry had promised it would be ‘an exhilarating attraction, based here at the home of British motorsport and I’m sure it will help to engage children in engineering’. 

Harry is a big F1 fan, and congratulated Hamilton on his title win in November 2014 by telling him on the radio: ‘Lewis, you’re an absolute legend. Well done mate.’ 

March 7: Mountbatten Music Festival (Harry and Meghan)

The couple will also attend the Mountbatten Music Festival at the Royal Albert Hall, which see the Royal Marines showcase their musicianship and pageantry.

The festival takes places over two days – March 6 and March 7 – at the venue in London, with Harry expected to attend the Saturday evening performance.

The Duke of Sussex at the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2019

Last year’s concert saw the Marine bands performed a range of different songs, including versions of popular hits by Take That and the Greatest Showman.

The 2019 event also marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day. All proceeds from the concert this year will again go to The Royal Marines Charity and CLIC Sargent.

The Massed Bands of the Royal Marines perform at the Mountbatten Festival of Music last year

This event will also be Harry’s last engagement as Captain-General of the Royal Marines, before he loses this title as he steps down as a senior royal.

The couple will continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as by the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and the Baron and Baroness of Kilkeel. 

March 8: International Women’s Day (Meghan)

Meghan is expected to undertake an engagement to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, although no specifics have yet been revealed.

Speaking on a panel to mark International Women’s Day last year, she said she would like her first child to be a feminist, regardless of whether they are a girl or a boy.

Meghan speaks at a panel in London in March 2019 with model Adwoa Aboah (left) and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (right) to mark International Women’s Day last year

Speaking on a panel to mark International Women’s Day, Meghan said she had recently been watching a documentary on feminism.

She told an audience at King’s College London last March: ‘One of the things they said during pregnancy was ‘I feel the embryonic kicking of feminism’.’

In March 2018, Harry and Meghan took part in an International Women’s Day event in Birmingham to encourage young women to pursue careers in Stem subjects 

Meghan has spoken about how noticed during a school assignment that an advert for a dishwashing detergent suggested women do all the cleaning.

She complained about it in a letter to Proctor and Gamble when she was aged just 11, and the firm responded by changing a line in the advert.

In 2018, Harry and Meghan took part in an International Women’s Day event in Birmingham to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.

March 9: Commonwealth Service (Harry and Meghan)

Harry and Meghan will both attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey the next day with the Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family.

Earlier this month it was revealed that the Queen had requested that Harry and Meghan attend the annual service with the rest of the royals.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (left) with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right) as they attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11 last year

The event will likely see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reunite with Prince William and Kate, a year after they were pictured smiling together at the 2019 service.

But the Sussexes have severed professional ties with the Cambridges by pulling out of the Kensington Palace household and their joint charitable foundation.

Prince Harry and Meghan arrive for the Commonwealth Day service in London in March 2019

At last year’s event, Harry and Meghan were seated beside Prince Andrew, who has left his royal duties after an interview about his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein. 

The 2019 service included performances by the Dhol Foundation drummers, Clean Bandit, William Barton on the didgeridoo, tenor Alfie Boe and the B Positive choir. 

Commonwealth Day has been celebrated since 1977 annually on the second Monday in March, celebrating the historic ties Britain has with the 53 other countries. 

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