Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Return to the Spotlight: Inside What's Next for the Royal Couple in 2020
By Antoinette Bueno
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry definitely have an eventful 2020 to look forward to.
The royal couple made their first official appearance of the year on Tuesday to Canada House in London, England, where they visited the High Commissioner for Canada to the U.K., Janice Charette, to thank her for their successfully private getaway to the country over the holidays. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex looked radiant as ever during their return to the public eye and royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET that the two are gearing up for a busy year, including a possible royal tour of Canada.
Canada is, of course, a special place for 38-year-old Meghan, who was living in Toronto while filming Suits before moving to England to be with 35-year-old Harry. She has often referred to the city as her "second home."
"The trip to Canada House today is unusual," Nicholl tells ET. "It's prompted a lot of speculation as to whether there is perhaps something more to the visit. Are we going to get an announcement in the not too distant future that the couple will be going to Canada on an official royal tour? Of course, that’s down to the British government if that actually happens. But I think people have wondered why they're going."
"It's unusual because this was a private trip and yet they made a public engagement of going to Canada House to formally thank the Higher Commissioner for what was clearly a wonderful stay, but I think really, according to their aid, the message was, 'We're back to work, we're back in the U.K.," she adds. "This was potentially going to be a private engagement [but] they decided to make it a public engagement and it was their way of saying, 'We're back to work.'"
Meghan and Harry might also show more of their adorable 8-month-old son, Archie, in 2020, depending on if they decide to do a royal tour. On New Year's Eve, the couple celebrated by sharing a new photo of Archie in Harry's arms as they enjoyed Canada.
"I think we might see more of Archie in 2020 if there's a royal tour," Nicholl muses. "I mean, don't forget it wasn't until the couple took him to South Africa that the world actually got to see beautiful baby Archie. It was a real treat to get that picture of Harry on New Year's Eve. But you know, the couple had made it very clear that they want Archie to enjoy a normal childhood, they're pretty much raising him away from the media spotlight. And I really do think that the time we'll get to see him is when they take him on a royal tour."
Archie could also spend a lot more time in 2020 with his cousins -- 6-year-old Prince George, 4-year-old Princess Charlotte and 1-year-old Prince Louis -- after all the past talk of tension between royal couples Prince William and Kate Middleton and Harry and Meghan.
"I do get the feeling that Kate particularly, is keen to really make 2020 a year where the cousins, if possible, can spend more time together," Nicholl tells ET. "I mean, that will have its challenges because of course, the Sussexes are in Windsor, the Cambridges are in London. They're actually not that far away from each other and I think that hopefully, we will see more of them hanging out in polo matches together, doing more family things. But I think it is a case of juggling everyone's diaries."
"I'm hoping, and I think everyone is hoping, that the cousins will grow up to be close," she continues. "It was always Harry's wish that when he did have children, you know, his children will be close to William's children and I think 2020... this feels like a new start, it feels like a new beginning and, let's hope that the cousins get to see more of each other because I don't think they see a huge amount of each other at the moment."
Nicholl says that 37-year-old Kate especially has made an effort to be closer to Harry and Meghan.
"I think Kate behind the scenes has been the peacemaker, you know, the one to extend an olive branch," she says. "I think she recognizes that this royal riff, the talk of the feud is no good actually for any of them. And I think she's very keen to try and, you know, get things on an even keel with the Sussexes. I think she'd like to see all of the royal cousins spend more time with each other, to grow up together, and for there to be more of a closeness between the two couples."
"I think we'll particularly see some coming together of the two couples when it comes to mental health projects, for example," Nicholl adds, highlighting the cause that is clearly very important to the younger royals. "I think we'll see them do things for the Shout crisis helpline. ... When you look at the royals, the strength is always in unity and I think myself and many other royal watchers will be hoping that we will see them do occasional things together."
As for Harry and Meghan's more private agenda, Nicholl says the two are looking to spend more time in the United States where Meghan grew up, and sources tell her that they could even be buying a second home in Los Angeles near where Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, still resides.
"I think they will be traveling in the U.S. certainly during 2020 ... they do want to have a second home in the States," Nicholl says. "It's very important to Meghan that Archie grows up aware of the fact that he is half American, and it's very important to her that she gets to go home, see her mom, see her friends and have a place of their own there."
And of course, more philanthropic work dealing with specific issues that are personal to them is expected of Harry and Meghan this year.
"So, the Palace won't give any details about exactly what they're going to be doing in the new year, but they have told me that they won’t be taking on any new patronages," Nicholl says. "So, I think we're going to see them visiting their charities, visiting the organizations that they're working with. Certainly, today at Canada House, they were talking to the High Commissioner about the things that really matter to them -- climate change, gender equality, women empowerment -- the themes that they sort of, I think, come to identify with the Sussexes. So, I think we're going to see them carry on very much in the vein of work that they left off of at the end of November. They're keen to get back to work. I think it’s going to be a busy 2020."