Commonwealth Day: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit Canada House

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived at London’s Canada House to kick off celebrations for Commonwealth Day – and their new roles at the forefront of the ‘family of nations’.

Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, paid tribute to Canadian design in a Erdem coat, teamed with £486 Aquazzura pumps, as she arrived at Trafalgar Square with Prince Harry this morning. 

The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralioglu’s Autumn/ Winter 2019 collection. 

Harry guided his pregnant wife out of the car and onto the curb, while Meghan put a protective arm on his back as the couple made their way into the building. 

Today’s event, hosted by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette, will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK.

Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her ‘second home’, for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels ‘very connected’ to the country.

The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, an organisation promoting young people around the world.

The Duke and Duchess arrive at Canada House. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels 'very connected' to the country

The Duke and Duchess arrive at Canada House. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels 'very connected' to the country

The Duke and Duchess arrive at Canada House. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her ‘second home’, for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels ‘very connected’ to the country

Glow in green in a coat by Erdem like the Duchess of Sussex

Erdem AW19 custom made coat

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid a visit to Canada House today, and of course Meghan paid tribute to the country she lived in for over six years via her outfit.

Her stunning coat is by Canadian-born designer Erdem, and between the rich green shade, wool fabric and black floral beaded embellishment, it’s a work of art.

The swing fit and bracelet sleeves give it a vintage vibe, and this custom made design is inspired by a style from Autumn/Winter ’19 collection (pictured, right). Add in her favourite Aquazzura heels, and Meghan looked positively glowing.

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The couple are all smiles as they arrive in Trafalgar Square

The couple are all smiles as they arrive in Trafalgar Square

The couple are all smiles as they arrive in Trafalgar Square. During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House

During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia, about their experiences as expats as well as opportunities for young people working in the Commonwealth

During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia, about their experiences as expats as well as opportunities for young people working in the Commonwealth

 The couple arrive at Canada House. During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia, about their experiences as expats as well as opportunities for young people working in the Commonwealth

Glowing in green: Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, wrapped up against the March chill with a bottle green wool dress featuring black beaded floral detail as she arrived at Trafalgar Square with Prince Harry this morning

Glowing in green: Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, wrapped up against the March chill with a bottle green wool dress featuring black beaded floral detail as she arrived at Trafalgar Square with Prince Harry this morning

Glowing in green: Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, wrapped up against the March chill with a bottle green wool dress featuring black beaded floral detail as she arrived at Trafalgar Square with Prince Harry this morning

During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia, about their experiences as expats as well as opportunities for young people working in the Commonwealth. 

The duke and duchess, who are expecting their first child next month, will also meet young people who will demonstrate a Canadian spring tradition of making maple taffy (maple syrup cooled on snow to make sweets) as part of a traditional cabane à sucre (sugar shack).

Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth – a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people. 

Before departing, the couple will attend a short reception and watch a musical performance before hearing a short speech from High Commissioner, H.E. Ms. Janice Charette.

The UK is home to a large community of expat Canadians; an estimated 500,000 Canadians are have made the country their home.

Later, Harry and Meghan will join the Queen along with other senior members of the royal family and leading figures from national life to attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. 

Meghan is all smiles in London this morning. The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, she announced last week

Meghan is all smiles in London this morning. The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, she announced last week

Meghan is all smiles in London this morning. The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, she announced last week

The Duchess appears in good spirits as she arrives at Trafalgar Square

The Duchess appears in good spirits as she arrives at Trafalgar Square

Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels 'very connected' to the country

Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels 'very connected' to the country

The Duchess appears in good spirits as she arrives at Trafalgar Square. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her ‘second home’, for over six years while filming Suits and has previously said she feels ‘very connected’ to the country

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people

Harry and Meghan arrive at Canada House. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth – a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people

Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels 'very connected' to the country

Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels 'very connected' to the country

She looked to be in good spirits this morning

She looked to be in good spirits this morning

Homecoming queen! Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her ‘second home’, for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto and has previously said she feels ‘very connected’ to the country

This morning's engagement at Canada House is just the start of Commonwealth Day duties for the couple; later they will join the Queen, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York at a special service at Westminster Abbey

This morning's engagement at Canada House is just the start of Commonwealth Day duties for the couple; later they will join the Queen, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York at a special service at Westminster Abbey

This morning’s engagement at Canada House is just the start of Commonwealth Day duties for the couple; later they will join the Queen, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York at a special service at Westminster Abbey

Proud mother: Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, clutched her bump protectively as she arrived at Canada House. Today's event will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK

Proud mother: Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, clutched her bump protectively as she arrived at Canada House. Today's event will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK

Proud mother: Meghan, who is eight months pregnant, clutched her bump protectively as she arrived at Canada House. Today’s event will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK

Harry and Meghan arrive at Trafalgar Square

Harry and Meghan arrive at Trafalgar Square

During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia

During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia

Harry and Meghan arrive at Trafalgar Square. During their visit today, the couple will have the opportunity to talk to groups of young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia

The Duchess of Sussex teamed her look with black accessories, holding a small clutch bag and £486 Aquazzura Deneuve pumps. She gave a nod to Canadian design by wearing a bottle green coat dress by Erdem

The Duchess of Sussex teamed her look with black accessories, holding a small clutch bag and £486 Aquazzura Deneuve pumps. She gave a nod to Canadian design by wearing a bottle green coat dress by Erdem

The Duchess of Sussex teamed her look with black accessories, holding a small clutch bag and £486 Aquazzura Deneuve pumps. She gave a nod to Canadian design by wearing a bottle green coat dress by Erdem

Meghan, wearing an eye-catching Erdem number, put a tender hand on her husband's back as the entered the building

Meghan, wearing an eye-catching Erdem number, put a tender hand on her husband's back as the entered the building

The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralıoğlu's Autumn/ Winter 2019 collectio

The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralıoğlu's Autumn/ Winter 2019 collectio

Meghan, wearing an eye-catching Erdem number, put a tender hand on her husband’s back as the entered the building. The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by an AW19 look

In her message to mark the occasion, the Queen has praised how the ‘family of nations’ inspires its member states to find ways of protecting the planet and its citizens. 

Millions of people are ‘drawn together’ because of the collective values shared by the institution, the monarch says in her address to the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

The written message is featured in the order of service for the annual Commonwealth Day service being held at Westminster Abbey later today.

The Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth, says in her message: ‘In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people.

‘We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of co-operation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw.

Meghan plumped for an Erdem coat for today's engagement. The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralıoğlu's AW 2019 collection

Meghan plumped for an Erdem coat for today's engagement. The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralıoğlu's AW 2019 collection

Meghan plumped for an Erdem coat for today’s engagement. The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralıoğlu’s AW 2019 collection

Glowing Meghan sported a natural, dewy makeup look at Canada House this morning. Later, she and Harry will join the Queen along with other senior members of the royal family and leading figures from national life to attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey

Glowing Meghan sported a natural, dewy makeup look at Canada House this morning. Later, she and Harry will join the Queen along with other senior members of the royal family and leading figures from national life to attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey

Glowing Meghan sported a natural, dewy makeup look at Canada House this morning. Later, she and Harry will join the Queen along with other senior members of the royal family and leading figures from national life to attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey

Harry speaks with Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette (second right) as he and Meghan attend a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House this morning

Harry speaks with Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette (second right) as he and Meghan attend a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House this morning

Harry speaks with Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette (second right) as he and Meghan attend a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House this morning

The Duchess of Sussex appears in good spirits as she meets dignitaries at Canada House

The Duchess of Sussex appears in good spirits as she meets dignitaries at Canada House

The UK is home to a large community of expat Canadians; an estimated 500,000 Canadians are have made the country their home

The UK is home to a large community of expat Canadians; an estimated 500,000 Canadians are have made the country their home

The Duchess of Sussex appears in good spirits as she meets dignitaries at Canada House. The UK is home to a large community of expat Canadians; an estimated 500,000 Canadians are have made the country their home

Harry and Meghan speak to guests at a Commonwealth Day Youth Event this morning. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto

Harry and Meghan speak to guests at a Commonwealth Day Youth Event this morning. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her 'second home', for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto

Harry and Meghan speak to guests at a Commonwealth Day Youth Event this morning. Los Angeles native Meghan lived in Canada, described as her ‘second home’, for over six years while filming for legal drama Suits in Toronto

Harry and Meghan attend a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House, where they speak with young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia on Monday morning

Harry and Meghan attend a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House, where they speak with young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia on Monday morning

Harry and Meghan attend a Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House, where they speak with young Canadians from a wide range of sectors including fashion, the arts, business and academia on Monday morning

Meghan listens during a discussion with Canadians living in London

Meghan listens during a discussion with Canadians living in London

Today's event, hosted by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette, will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK

Today's event, hosted by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette, will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK

Meghan listens during a discussion with Canadians living in London. Today’s event, hosted by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette, will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK

Meghan is all smiles as she joins Harry at a Commonwealth event this morning. In her message to mark the occasion, the Queen has praised how the 'family of nations' inspires its member states to find ways of protecting the planet and its citizens

Meghan is all smiles as she joins Harry at a Commonwealth event this morning. In her message to mark the occasion, the Queen has praised how the 'family of nations' inspires its member states to find ways of protecting the planet and its citizens

Meghan is all smiles as she joins Harry at a Commonwealth event this morning. In her message to mark the occasion, the Queen has praised how the ‘family of nations’ inspires its member states to find ways of protecting the planet and its citizens

Meghan during this morning's Commonwealth meeting at Canada House

Meghan during this morning's Commonwealth meeting at Canada House

The theme for this year's service is 'A Connected Commonwealth' which highlights the co-operation between the culturally diverse family of nations who work together in friendship

The theme for this year's service is 'A Connected Commonwealth' which highlights the co-operation between the culturally diverse family of nations who work together in friendship

Meghan during this morning’s Commonwealth meeting at Canada House. The theme for this year’s service is ‘A Connected Commonwealth’ which highlights the co-operation between the diverse family of nations who work together in friendship

Smiling Meghan chats to young people and dignitaries during her visit to Canada House this morning. Today's event will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK, the Palace said

Smiling Meghan chats to young people and dignitaries during her visit to Canada House this morning. Today's event will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK, the Palace said

Smiling Meghan chats to young people and dignitaries during her visit to Canada House this morning. Today’s event will showcase and celebrate the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK, the Palace said

Meghan opted for a green coat and matching dress by Erdem this morning

Meghan opted for a green coat and matching dress by Erdem this morning

The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralioglu's Autumn/ Winter 2019 collection

The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralioglu's Autumn/ Winter 2019 collection

Meghan opted for a green coat and matching dress by Erdem this morning. The green wool number, featuring black beaded detail on the cuffs and collar, is a custom design inspired by a look from Montréal-born Erdem Moralioglu’s AW19 range

The Duke and Duchess speak to Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette (third left). The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, an organisation promoting young people around the world

The Duke and Duchess speak to Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette (third left). The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, an organisation promoting young people around the world

The Duke and Duchess speak to Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Janice Charette (third left). The Queen has put Harry and Meghan at the forefront of her Commonwealth duties by making them President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, an organisation promoting young people around the world

What is the Commonwealth?

Known formally as the Commonwealth of Nations, the group is a free association of 53 member states.

It dates back about 75 years and followed the decolonisation of the British Empire.

As countries sought greater self-governance in the mid-20th century, a new body was set up which united members states not by any legal obligation, but instead by shared values of democracy, freedom of speech and human rights.

The Commonwealth was formally constituted by the London Declaration, which established the members as ‘free and equal’ in 1949.

The Queen remains head of state for 16 member states, she has no formal position in several other nations of the Commonwealth, such as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. 

The Commonwealth accounts for about a third of the planet’s population, or 2.4 billion people.

‘With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real.’

The Queen will be joined at the Commonwealth Day service by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York.

Other guests among the 2,000-strong congregation will include Prime Minister Theresa May, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland, alongside high commissioners, ambassadors, faith leaders and more than 800 schoolchildren and young people. 

The theme for this year’s service is ‘A Connected Commonwealth’ which highlights the co-operation between the culturally diverse family of nations who work together in friendship.

Highlights of the service include performances by Grammy-winning group Clean Bandit and tenor Alfie Boe.

A reflection will be given by Lewis Pugh, an endurance swimmer, ocean advocate and the UN Patron of the Oceans. 

Later in the evening, Charles and Camilla will be guests of the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the annual reception which traditionally takes place on Commonwealth Day at Marlborough House, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the institution’s civil service.

Last year, the Queen told foreign dignitaries of her ‘sincere wish’ that they pick Prince Charles to take over as leader of the Commonwealth and ‘carry on’ the ‘important work’ started by her father in 1949.

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