The Duchess of Sussex boarded a commercial flight from London on Friday morning, PEOPLE confirms. She is making the last-minute trip without husband Prince Harry and 4-month-old son Archie — marking the first time Meghan is traveling without her baby.
The father-son duo are expected to stay at home in Windsor, with Meghan returning from her homeland visit at the end of the weekend.
Returning to New York City also has a special significance for Meghan, 38. It’s where the California native came when she last visited the U.S. in February for her baby shower with some of her closest friends.
“It was exactly what she needed, and it was a reunion for all of us, too, who hadn’t seen each other since the wedding,” Meghan’s longtime friend and wedding makeup artist Daniel Martin previously told PEOPLE. “Snow was falling outside, and it was so cozy — we all sat on couches or on the floor and told stories and caught up. It was like going to a family reunion.”
Added another attendee: “It was all baby talk. She was getting tons of advice.”
While Meghan was settling into life as a new mom at Frogmore Cottage, Prince Harry continued to do some work-related solo traveling after Archie’s arrival.
Harry traveled to the Netherlands just a few days after Archie’s birth to help launch the next stage of his Invictus Games for veterans and wounded armed forces members, which are being held in The Hague next year. Later that month, the prince spent his first overnight trip as a dad in Rome to play polo for his African kids’ charity, Sentebale.
Prince Harry returned to the Netherlands earlier this week to launch a new partnership called Travalyst, which partners with leaders in the travel industry to promote eco-friendly tourism. After spending the night in Amsterdam, the 34-year-old royal joked “it was definitely the best night’s sleep I’ve had for the last four months!”
Meghan, Harry and Archie have also done some traveling as a family of three over the summer. They headed to the Spanish island of Ibiza around August 4, when Meghan celebrated her 38th birthday.
Later this month, they will embark on a long-haul flight to Africa for Archie’s first official overseas visit.
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In July, Meghan and some friends watched Serena’s match at the Wimbledon championships. She then joined sister-in-law Kate Middleton for the women’s final.