Prince Harry and Meghan Markle return to royal duty in London

Prince Harry and Meghan put on a public display of affection during their first appearance today since embarking on a six-week hiatus from royal duties - to thank the people of Canada for hosting their private holiday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex held hands and walked closely next to each other this afternoon as they visited Canada House to meet the country's High Commissioner in London, Janice Charette. 

They were warmly greeted by Ms Charette and her deputy Sarah Fountain Smith, after saying they wanted to meet staff to 'thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay'. 

The Sussexes spent their first Christmas with baby Archie in a £10.7million eight-bedroom waterfront mansion owned by a mystery multi-millionaire in one of the most idyllic spots on Vancouver Island. 

Harry and Meghan travelled direct to today's engagement from a private visit to The Hubb, the Grenfell community kitchen project in West London that the former actress collaborated with on the Together cookbook.  

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave after visiting Canada House in London this afternoon, after their recent stay in Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave after visiting Canada House in London this afternoon, after their recent stay in Canada

Prince Harry and Meghan hold hands outside Canada House in London today

Harry and Meghan leave following their engagement

Prince Harry and Meghan hold hands outside Canada House in London today as they leave following their engagement

The Duke of Sussex pulls a face as he leaves with Meghan after visiting Canada House in London this afternoon

The Duke of Sussex pulls a face as he leaves with Meghan after visiting Canada House in London this afternoon

The couple's visit to Canada House today comes after they had an extended festive break in the Commonwealth country

Harry and Meghan arrive for their visit today

The couple's visit to Canada House today comes after they had an extended festive break in the Commonwealth country

Meghan and Harry are pictured holding hands during their visit to Canada House in London this afternoon

Meghan and Harry are pictured holding hands during their visit to Canada House in London this afternoon

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for their visit to Canada House as they are greeted outside by well-wishers

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for their visit to Canada House as they are greeted outside by well-wishers

Following their first official engagement of the new year, Harry and Meghan leave Canada House in London this afternoon

Meghan leaves Canada House today

Following their first official engagement of the new year, Harry and Meghan leave Canada House in London this afternoon

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on their first royal engagement of the new decade with the visit to Canada House

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on their first royal engagement of the new decade with the visit to Canada House

Prince Harry and Meghan smile as they arrive for their engagement at Canada House in London this afternoon

Prince Harry and Meghan smile as they arrive for their engagement at Canada House in London this afternoon

The Duke of Sussex and Duchess of Sussex visit Canada House in London today on their first official engagement of 2020

The Duke of Sussex and Duchess of Sussex visit Canada House in London today on their first official engagement of 2020

The Duchess of Sussex arrives today to visit Canada House in London to meet the country's High Commissioner

Meghan smiles as she gets out of a car today

The Duchess of Sussex arrives today to visit Canada House in London to meet the country's High Commissioner 

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House this afternoon, less than 24 hours after announcing that they would be visiting

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House this afternoon, less than 24 hours after announcing that they would be visiting

The couple want to thank staff 'for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay'

Meghan gets out of the car today

The couple want to thank staff 'for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay'

Kilvir Buttar, an IT worker at Canada House, who spoke to the couple outside, told Meghan she was from Vancouver, where the couple stayed. Meghan told her she thought it was 'so beautiful'.

Jamie Weare, another staff member at the High Commission, who was waving a flag on their arrival, added that Harry said they had enjoyed their trip but complained that 'it rained all the time'.

Sumira Osman, a consular official, added: 'They were lovely and so gracious. There was a real aura about them. We only found out about this visit at 2.30pm yesterday and it was such a surprise. It is a lovely gesture.'

It is understood that the couple flew in at the weekend from Canada. Aides confirmed the Daily's Mail exclusive story that the couple had spent their entire six-week break in the country, including Thanksgiving.

Today's visit comes less than 24 hours after it was announced by Buckingham Palace. It is unheard of for a royal to undertake a Court Circular-documented engagement to thank a country that wasn't officially 'hosting' them. 

Prince Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House in London for an engagement today following their recent stay in Canada

Prince Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House in London for an engagement today following their recent stay in Canada

The Duke and Duchess have spent the past six weeks based in Canada where they enjoyed private family time with Archie

The Duke and Duchess have spent the past six weeks based in Canada where they enjoyed private family time with Archie

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Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House today

The Sussexes last visited Canada House in March 2019 but today travelled to thank High Commission staff for their welcome

The Sussexes last visited Canada House in March 2019 but today travelled to thank High Commission staff for their welcome

The couple are meeting Canada's High Commissioner and staff

The couple are meeting Canada's High Commissioner and staff 'to thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support'

Harry and Meghan have the engagement in Canada House today after spending six weeks away enjoying private family time

Meghan smiles after stepping out of the car today

Harry and Meghan have the engagement in Canada House today after spending six weeks away enjoying private family time

Prince Harry and Meghan are pictured inside Canada House during the visit to the building in London this afternoon

Prince Harry and Meghan are pictured inside Canada House during the visit to the building in London this afternoon

The Duchess of Sussex speaks during her visit to Canada House today to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK,

The Duchess of Sussex speaks during her visit to Canada House today to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK,

Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance today since embarking on a six-week hiatus from royal duties

Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance today since embarking on a six-week hiatus from royal duties

Meghan at Canada House today

Meghan at Canada House today

The Duchess of Sussex is visiting the Canadians today to thank them for the warm hospitality of their homeland

The trip was classed as private and no official engagements took place. But Harry and Meghan have always made clear they like to cast aside convention and do what is least expected. 

The couple were last seen in public together on Remembrance Sunday in November when they joined other royals in London. Harry also undertook a subsequent solo public engagement.

They then disappeared from view with son Archie, now eight months, with a spokesman saying they were taking 'extended family time' after a year in which both admitted struggling with their royal roles.

It meant that they missed the Queen's pre-Christmas dinner and the Royal Family's annual festivities at Sandringham. 

Meghan and Prince Harry smile as they speak to people gathered outside Canada House in London today

Meghan and Prince Harry smile as they speak to people gathered outside Canada House in London today

Well-wishers line the street trying to get a glimpse of Harry and Meghan outside Canada House in London today

Well-wishers line the street trying to get a glimpse of Harry and Meghan outside Canada House in London today

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their first royal engagement of the new decade at Canada House in London today

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their first royal engagement of the new decade at Canada House in London today

The Duchess of Sussex steps out of the car outside Canada House in London today as the royals arrive for their visit

The Duchess of Sussex steps out of the car outside Canada House in London today as the royals arrive for

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