Music producer David Foster revealed on Friday to the Daily Mail that he arranged for the royal couple — and son Archie, born May 6 — to stay at a mansion on Vancouver Island owned by a close friend, although he declined to name the owner.
“I felt honored that I was able to help Meghan there, because I’m a Canadian and we’re a commonwealth country, we’re the Crown’s. It’s important to us, so I grew up with that kind of sentiment,” Foster told the Daily Mail. “I was really happy to be able to help them to find a respite just to take a little time off.”
He added, “The owner has allowed this to happen through me, and I was happy to facilitate. I don’t know what their next plans are, but I know that it was reinvigorating for them to spend some downtime. This is a great testament to my hometown of Victoria that they were able to go under the radar for so long.”
Foster’s connection to Meghan, 38, and Prince Harry, 35, doesn’t stop there. The producer’s wife, Katharine McPhee, performed in musicals with the Duchess of Sussex when they were both teens growing up in Los Angeles.
McPhee told the Evening Standard, “She was lovely, and she remembered me – she remembered my sister more specifically because they were in the same class – and she said, ‘I’m just sitting around waiting for the baby to come.’ “
Meghan and Harry previously stayed at Elton John‘s Nice home in the south of France over the summer. The famed musician spoke out in support of the couple after they received criticism for taking a private jet.
“I am deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private stay at my home in Nice last week,” he said. “Prince Harry’s Mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death.”
John continued, “After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home. To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight.”
“To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint™,” he said. “I highly respect and applaud both Harry and Meghan’s commitment to charity and I’m calling on the press to cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis.”
The palace confirmed that the royals were “spending private family time in Canada” ahead of Christmas. Then while out for a hike on New Year’s Day, they helped a young couple struggling with a selfie stick by taking their photo.
“We’ve been doing this hike on New Year’s Day for the past two years. We took a little picnic out and we were finishing up and trying to get some selfies with the nice backdrop when a woman came up to us and asked if we wanted her to take our photo,” Asymina Kantorowicz, 29, tells PEOPLE after first sharing her story with CTV News Vancouver Island.
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Kantorowicz, who was with her boyfriend Iliya Pavlovic, didn’t realize who the woman was at first until she noticed a famous face among the group of three — Meghan’s good friend and fellow Suits star Abigail Spencer. She then realized the woman taking their photo was the Duchess of Sussex herself.
“I’m a Suits fan and I first noticed Abigail and then I looked up and realized it was Meghan taking the photo. Then I looked back at the group and realized Prince Harry was there too!” she says.