Meghan visits Vancouver women's shelter as Mail on Sunday defends publishing her letter

The Duchess of Sussex has been seen for just the second time since the royal crisis began at the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre in Vancouver discussing "issues affecting women in the community".

It comes as The Mail on Sunday said it will argue there is a huge public interest in the personal relationships of members of the Royal family as part of its defence against a legal claim by the Duchess of Sussex.

The shelter posted a photograph on its Facebook page of Meghan at the centre of a group of eight women, with the caption "Look who we had tea with today!

"The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community."

High Court documents, seen by ITV News, suggest the paper will claim Meghan and other Royals “rely on publicity about themselves and their lives to maintain the privileged positions they hold”.

The Duchess launched a legal action against the newspaper in October over an allegation it unlawfully published a letter to her father.

Law firm Schillings, representing the Duchess, filed a High Court claim against the paper and its parent company Associated Newspapers over the alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

But in its legal defence the paper claims the duchess “did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the contents of the letter were private and would remain so”.

In the documents, the Mail on Sunday also argued the publication of the letter was lawful because there is a “legitimate public interest” in the “conduct and standards” of royals extending to their personal and family relationships.

The papers state: "The Claimant is a major public figure, whose fitness to perform royal duties on behalf of the Crown and to be the recipient of public money is a proper matter for public scrutiny, and whose conduct, past and present, both in public and private, including her conduct in her relationships with her family and other people, is rightly of enormous public interest."

Harry, Meghan and Archie spent six weeks in Canada over Christmas. Credit: PA

It comes just 24 hours after the Queen agreed Harry and Meghan could step back as senior royals and begin a “new life” as an “independent” family.

Buckingham Palace also confirmed the Sussexes would begin a “transition period” in which they would split their time between the UK and Canada, where the Duchess is currently with their son Archie.

Meghan is reportedly the driving force behind the move.

Harry and Meghan spent six weeks over the festive period based in the Canadian province of British Columbia staying at an exclusive property on Vancouver Island.

The Duchess, a former actress, worked in Toronto during her time starring in the popular US drama Suits, and knows the country well having lived there for seven years.