Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holds a gift from a member of the public as she walks along Kingfisher Bay Jetty with Britain’s Prince Harry during a visit to Fraser Island, Australia, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)

Vancouver Island mayor says royals chose ideal spot to ponder future

North Saanich’s Geoff Orr said he likes to think the beaches, forests played a part in the decision

A local mayor says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose the perfect place to rest and relax over the holiday season before announcing their decision to step back as senior members of the Royal Family.

North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr says privacy is one of the hallmarks of the district and he likes to think the majestic beaches and forests he visited as a child played a part in the couple’s decision.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly spent the holidays at a secluded beachfront villa in North Saanich, but that didn’t stop them from getting out and exploring the community as they were spotted by locals hiking and checking out markets.

Orr says he’s pleased community residents gave the royals the privacy they desire and he wants them to know they are welcome now that the couple say they will spend more time in North America.

Meghan, who is American, has returned to Canada, where the former actress has long-standing ties after living in Toronto while filming the TV show “Suits.”

READ MORE: Prince Harry stopped by during Christmas visit, Victoria-area shop owner reveals

Victoria resident Asymina Kantorowicz says the duke and duchess have already proved to be good neighbours, volunteering to snap selfies of her and her boyfriend on a New Year’s Day hike in North Saanich.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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