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New photos show Meghan Markle hiking with Archie in Canada

The Duchess of Sussex looked relaxed and happy on a hike with her baby boy on Vancouver Island as she and Prince Harry embark on their next step.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

A smiling Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was looking happy and relaxed on a hike in Canada with her baby son, Archie, on Monday as she begins the next chapter of her life with Prince Harry.

The former Meghan Markle was spotted by paparazzi on Vancouver Island in leggings and boots as she held 8-month-old Archie in a baby carrier while walking her dogs.

The informal shot of the Duchess of Sussex marks a break from the usual photos of her while living in Great Britain.

"I think it's really interesting, when you look at the coverage over the past year or so, never once did we see a candid shot of Meghan walking the dogs when they were living in Windsor,'' NBC News London correspondent Kelly Cobiella said on TODAY Tuesday. "Now we've not only seen Meghan walking the dogs, but Harry arriving at the airport, (and) Meghan taking off from the airport to one of her events last week, so things may have already changed."

Harry and Meghan will enjoy less legal protection of their privacy in Canada than they did in England, Cobiella noted.

"The privacy rules are really, really strong here (in Britain) in part because of Harry and William, and the days when they were growing up, those privacy rules were put in place to protect them for the large part,'' she said. "Now they're moving to a place where those rules don't apply."

That doesn't mean the prince and his wife won't put up some resistance. Lawyers representing the couple sent a letter to British news outlets Tuesday — a day after the photos of Meghan, Archie and her dogs were published widely — warning of legal action if they purchase and publish pictures taken by photographers trailing them.

Harry flew back to Vancouver Island overnight to be with his wife and son after a whirlwind stretch in London in which the couple formalized their new arrangement in which they have stepped back from their duties as senior members of the British royal family.

The return to Canada comes after Queen Elizabeth II announced Saturday that Harry and Meghan will no longer user their "royal highness" titles or receive public money.

The historic arrangement came just over a week after he and Meghan made the bombshell announcement on Jan. 8 that they planned to "step back" from their royal duties.

"Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve,'' Harry said at a charity dinner in London Sunday night. "For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this."

"This is a young man who is clearly very torn, very divided, very sad at having to leave but clearly in his own words he felt that he had no other option,'' Vanity Fair royal editor Katie Nicholl said on TODAY Tuesday. "I think that they yearn for a more peaceful life. Whether or not they're going to have that in Canada is another matter altogether."

While Harry was in London finalizing the terms of their new life with the royal family, Meghan was seen boarding a sea plane in Canada, making an appearance at a Canadian charity and picking up a friend at the airport in British Columbia in the past week.

Questions still remain about how Harry and Meghan will earn a living now that they will no longer receive taxpayer money, where they will ultimately make their home, when they will return to Britain and who will pay for security.