hellomagazine.comWe take a look at the nine key players who will help shape Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's new life as they relocate to Canada and give up their royal duties
The Duke of Sussex flew to Canada last week, ready to begin his new life with the Duchess and their eight-month-old son Archie. It was the first time the family had been together in almost a fortnight, during which Prince Harry thrashed out the terms of their changing roles and carried out some of his final royal duties.
Harry and Meghan now intend to spend the majority of their time in North America, with the former actress expected to want to return to Toronto, where she lived while filming the legal TV drama Suits. Her best friend Jessica Mulroney lives there and Meghan has spoken of her love for the city and her favourite haunts. However, it is still unknown how much time the family will spend in the UK. There will be a "period of transition" until the spring during which official engagements will be announced as normal.
As the Sussexes prepare to shape up their new life, we take a look at the couple's close friends and confidantes, media moguls, A-listers and Hollywood movers and shakers who are helping them map out their future…
Tennis star Serena has been a close friend to Meghan since they met in 2010, during an American football Super Bowl party. According to the Duchess, they "hit it off immediately". Meghan has regularly cheered her friend on at matches, most notably at Wimbledon last year, while Serena attended the royal wedding and helped organise the Duchess's baby shower in New York last year. "Her personality just shines," says the athlete of her friend. "I told her: 'You've got to be who you are, Meghan. You can't hide.'"
One of the most powerful woman in the US media, Oprah has teamed up with Harry for a six-part documentary series on mental health for Apple TV+. She was also among the guests at the couple's wedding. While she denies the Duke and Duchess are ready to give her a tell-all interview, Oprah has backed their decision to step down as working royals "1,000%".
Speaking last week, she said: "When a person has thought: 'What is the best decision to make for my family?' and then he makes that decision, none of us have any right to say anything about that... Who doesn't feel what that takes to make that decision; to give up everything you've known your whole life; to say: 'I'm going to choose this new life or what I believe to be the truest vision for myself'?" she continued. "Who are any of us to stand in judgment of that?"
One of Meghan's inner circle and a guest at her baby shower, US TV presenter Gayle has also denied the couple are planning a tell-all interview with her. "Everybody wants that interview, of course, but I've not asked for it," she said.
Like her good friend Oprah, Gayle, who co-hosts the popular CBS This Morning, supports Harry and Meghan's move fully. "I think they made a decision that they think is best for them and I know that I'm pulling for them 100%," she said last week.
"At the end of the day, these are two people who are in love who just want to be a family together. And it's no diss on the Queen, it's no diss on the UK, none of that." She added: "I can bet probably my first and second-born child, who I love very dearly, you will not see them on the Grammys red carpet."
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Meghan has been friends with Heather for more than 15 years and was spotted smiling as she drove to an airport on Vancouver Island to pick up the Los Angeles-based Pilates instructor for a visit. Mum of two Heather, who was a guest at Harry and Meghan's wedding, is the founder of Platinum Pilates fitness studio and counts Eva Longoria and Alessandra Ambrosio among her clients.
Meghan's best friend since her Suits days, stylist Jessica is a key figure in Toronto society. She is married to Ben Mulroney, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian, and is also friends with Sophie Trudeau, the wife of current Prime Minister Justin. Jessica was unofficial matron of honour at Harry and Meghan's wedding, while her daughter Ivy was a flowergirl and her twin sons Brian and John were pageboys.
US-based fashion designer Misha is widely rumoured to have introduced Meghan to Prince Harry in 2016, when she was married to Harry's friend Alexander Gilkes, the co-founder of online auction house Paddle8. She has been friends with the Duchess for many years and says: "I love her to death. She is the coolest girl in the world."
Meghan, meanwhile, is a loyal supporter of her friend's fashion brand: she wore one of Misha's shirts for her first public outing with Harry in 2017 and they collaborated on Meghan's SmartWorks clothing collection. The Duke and Duchess were also guests at Misha's wedding to US oil heir Michael Hess last year.
Meghan and Soho House director Markus became inseparable pals when she moved to Toronto to star in Suits and he opened a branch of the members' club in the city. Markus was by Meghan's side when she stepped out with Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games and later helped keep the crowds at bay at her baby shower.
The Duchess refers to him as the "uncle" to her dogs and in a message on Instagram once said: "What would I do without you, my loving, supportive, and endlessly fun friend?? I know what... I would be bored, and life would be infinitely less interesting."
Keleigh Thomas Morgan
Keleigh is a partner at US PR firm Sunshine Sachs, which represented Meghan when she starred in Suits and counts Jennifer Lopez and Leonardo DiCaprio among its clients. The PR expert is still close to Meghan – she attended her wedding – and is said to be working with the couple to build Sussex Royal, The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan's agent when she was an actress, Nick is the co-head of talent at The Gersh Agency, one of Hollywood's largest talent agencies, and clients include Tobey Maguire and Jamie Foxx. He is believed to be handling TV and film offers together with charity opportunities for the Duke and Duchess. Meghan is also said to be getting help planning her next move from Hollywood lawyer Rick Genow and business manager Andrew Meyer.