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Meghan visits Canada women's shelter in first public outing

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Vancouver (AFP)

Prince Harry's wife Meghan has visited a women's shelter in Vancouver, her first public appearance since the couple's sensational decision to pursue greater independence from the British monarchy by living part-time in Canada.

Images of a smiling Meghan visiting on Tuesday with eight staffers at the Downtown Eastside Women's Center was posted on the center's Facebook page.

"Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community," said a caption.

The shelter in an impoverished Vancouver neighborhood provides counselling, hot meals, and basic needs for women and children.

The Daily Mail quoted staff as saying Meghan "asked what the women would need in terms of support. It was a nice meeting" and a boost to staff's spirits.

Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne, and Meghan last week announced they intend to step back as senior royals and become financially independent, splitting their time between Britain and Canada where they spent six weeks over Christmas with baby son Archie.

They are now in talks with senior royals about how their wished-for new roles within the monarchy could work.

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