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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend school charity event

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have volunteered at a back-to-school charity event in what marks their first charity engagement since lockdown.

Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 39, both wearing face coverings, distributed supplies, clothes and nappies at a drive-through run by Los Angeles charity Baby2Baby, which provides basic necessities for families in need.

Pictures show the couple handing supplies in through the windows of vehicles at Dr Owen Lloyd Knox Elementary School in South LA on Wednesday.

The couple cut casual figures, with Meghan sporting loose khaki shorts with a white shirt and trainers, and Harry going for a similar look plus a baseball cap.

The volunteering comes after it emerged the couple had bought a property in the celebrity hotspot of Santa Barbara for a reported £11 million.

The couple had been house-hunting for some time after relocating to the US from Canada just before the coronavirus lockdown.

Harry and Meghan plunged the royal family into a period of crisis when they announced earlier in the year that they wanted to step back from their positions as senior royals and become financially independent.

A summit of senior royals was convened by the Queen at Sandringham to discuss the issue, with Harry sitting down for talks with his grandmother, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.

It was later announced they would no longer be working members of the monarchy, would split their time between Canada and the UK, with the majority in North America, and no longer be known as HRH.

The couple’s appearance comes just days after Omid Scobie claimed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will return to the UK to resume their charity work once lockdown travel restrictions ease.

The co-author of bombshell biography Finding Freedom, currently the best-selling book in the UK, said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will undertake trips to Britain in both a private and professional capacity.

Speaking to Royal Central, Scobie said the couple ‘love to get out there and be active in the field’.

‘Harry and Meghan have made it clear that their work in the UK, including their royal patronages, will continue,’ he explained.  

‘While their base will be in the US, I think once travel restrictions ease we will see them moving around again and undertaking trips to the UK, both privately and professionally.’

He added: ‘A lot of the work they already started, including all four of Meghan’s patronages, are right here on British soil.’

But despite Scobie pointing out the Queen has told the couple, who stepped down as senior members of the Firm in March, that the door ‘is open’, he said he doesn’t believe they’ll return to the UK as full-time working royals. 

‘It’s safe to say that this is a couple who are very much forward-focused and are clearly in a good place,’ he told the publication. 

‘The Sussexes are more engaged in the issues that matter to them than ever, the work on Archewell–their non-profit organisation–continues, and, as we have recently seen, they have established a permanent family base in California.

‘The UK will always be important to them, but I don’t think we’ll ever see that happen again as working royals.’

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