Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle has unexpectedly handed back her lease car in Canada, sparking talk she is moving to London more permanently.
Miss Markle, 36, who currently lives in Toronto where she films legal drama series Suits, cancelled her ‘VIP’ contract with Audi North America several months early, well-placed sources in the US have told the Mail.
They claim she has no need for the £40,000 vehicle as she plans to ‘spend more time in the UK’ from November.
Another source said that while Miss Markle, who is currently filming in Canada, had committed to the show until Christmas, it was not clear what her work plans were after that.
Moving in? Meghan Markle and one of her dogs pictured in a parked Audi; the actress has cancelled her ‘VIP’ contract with Audi North America several months early
The revelations will clearly fire speculation that Harry, 33, sees a long-term future with the American divorcee and marriage is on the cards.
Earlier this month the actress gave an extraordinary magazine interview in which she publicly confirmed her relationship with Harry for the first time.
She told Vanity Fair: ‘We’re two people who are really happy and in love.
‘I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time. This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.’
Like many car firms, Audi has long-standing links with various celebrities and VIPs, who act as ‘ambassadors’ for the brand.
Generally they get use of a car for free or at a preferential rate for doing a set number of appearances at events, or simply being ‘seen’ or ‘associated’ with the luxury brand.
Miss Markle has, for the last four years, been driving a robust Audi Q5 sports utility vehicle, perfect for her two dogs and the Canadian winters, as a member of the Audi VIP Programme.
Meghan Markle (right) recently publicly confirmed her relationship with Prince Harry (left)
Miss Markle has been filming TV series Suits (pictured left) in Canada but her future plans are not yet known. The revelations that she cancelled her Audi contract early will fuel speculation that Harry, 33, sees a long-term future with the American divorcee
She has posted a number of photographs on Instagram showing her inside an Audi with her dogs, Guy and Bogart.
Her contract for the SUV was brokered through an Audi dealership in the US, believed to be in her home town of Los Angeles. It is understood that she paid for the car personally but at what is believed to be a discounted or advantageous rate.
The source said: ‘Meghan Markle has prematurely ended her contract with Audi here in US. It is believed that she will be spending more time in the UK. It was a normal commercial contract. It was a car she was paying for, to be clear. She was being treated like a normal customer but, as an actress, with some VIP celebrity elements.
Miss Markle has, for the last four years, been driving a robust Audi Q5 sports utility vehicle, perfect for her two dogs and the Canadian winters, as a member of the Audi VIP Programme
‘Audi do a lot of this. There were no particular favours, certainly not because of her dating the prince.’
Audi said in a statement yesterday: ‘We do not discuss the private affairs of Audi VIP customers.’
Another industry source stressed, however, that Miss Markle had also become deeply concerned that her car, which she had been driving for four years, had made her too recognisable to the paparazzi.
Several recent incidents prompted her to decide not to drive in the city any more and seek a termination to her leasing contract, they said. It is believed she is currently being driven in a chauffeured car provided by her employers, NBC Universal, when she needs to be on set.
‘There has been a security element to her decision,’ the source added. Miss Markle’s choice of vehicle is interesting as many members of the royal family also drive Audis.
Harry will be reunited with Meghan in Toronto this week when he arrives in the city for his Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event for injured service personnel.