It’s been a year since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry flew the Royal coop––in the meantime, they’ve built one of their own, named for their son. Nestled among the 7.5 acres of their Mediterranean-style home in Montecito, California (90 miles up the coast from LA, in Santa Barara County) on sits Archie's chicken coop, cleverly named: Archie's Chick Inn.

In a news-making two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired last Sunday on CBS, the couple offered the world a glimpse of their private lives in Montecito, where they live with two rescued dogs and a handful of rescued chickens. Meghan talked about her mental health issues, the painful events that led up to their deciding to leave England and royal life behind, and the fact that she is having a baby girl, sometime this summer. Meghan did not discuss her mostly plant-based diet, or the fact that she encouraged Harry to give up his hunting guns, but it's clear that her love of animals is one of the joys of her life. She told an interviewer last winter that her two rescue dogs have been a source of support during the pandemic.

The interview took place outside on a neutral property, but then the couple brought Oprah to their nearby home and allowed cameras to take a brief tour of the chicken coop, and they seemed eager to show off their rescued birds and coop to Oprah, who willingly obliged. The interview was done "at a friend's house" so this part of the tour was obviously a separate shoot, and while we didn't see the couple's nearly 19,000 square-foot house, they were more than happy to show off where the chickens live.

The camera following the couple into the chicken coop paused for a second as Oprah and the Duke and Dutchess walked into the netted and wired area, showing the adorable sign and "Chick Inn" pun on the red house where the chickens get to live out the rest of their days,  clucking and pecking.

In a previous interview with James Cordon, Harry revealed that Archie's first word was unpredictably, "crocodile," so it's safe to assume that the toddler is an animal-lover, like his mom who brought her rescued beagle Guy into her relationship with Harry. "I just love rescuing," Meghan told Oprah. The couple also adopted a black lab in 2018 named Pula, the official currency of Botswana (where they first traveled as a couple).  "Our family is complete," Harry said during the interview, referring to their upcoming birth of a sister for Archie. Two kids, two dogs, and a coop full of chickens.

They shared videos of the simple life, Meghan, Archie, and Gus walking on a foggy beach and through Harry's legs at the end of the beach walking clip. Harry talked about how he loves taking bike rides with Archie on the back with his arms spread wide, as the toddler points out passing scenery and says: "Palm tree! House!" Harry noted that this was particularly joyful for him since he got to do all the little things he was never allowed to do as a child growing up in royal life, which is why he's loving their new-found freedom.

The couple made it a priority to rescue hens from factory farms for their personal flock, feeding a lifelong love for helping animals in need. “I just love rescuing,” Markel told Winfrey as the group fed the hens. The coop also holds a special place in their hearts in connection to their 22-month-old son; the coop is adorned with a plaque bearing the structure’s name: “Archie’s Chick Inn.”

For Meghan Markle, Rescuing Dogs and Chickens Makes Perfect Sense

The family's chicken coop jives well with her health-conscious diet, favoring gluten-free and vegan options during the week while allowing some flexibility on the weekends. Markle has reportedly shifted her diet to include more plant-based meals ever since moving to the United States, and has attributed significant changes in her skin health and energy levels to a better diet.

Her interest in sustainability has led her to invest in a plant-based brand. In 2020, Markle became a key financial backer of Clevr Blends, a self-described “woman-led, mission-driven wellness company” with an exciting line of “SuperLattes.” The drinks boast excellent support for the body through probiotics, coconut cream, adaptogens, mushrooms, and oat milk. Likewise, the company’s stated commitment to supporting “a healthier planet and a more just society” aligns well with Markle’s own philanthropic goals and the sentiment behind Archie’s Chick Inn.

Markle eats plant-based during the week and allows herself plenty of room for treats

Markle starts the day with a healthy breakfast, opting for steel-cut oats, bananas, and a bit of agave syrup. The Duchess tends to eat more at lunch, frequently choosing a salad for the benefits of a plant-based meal, and occasionally indulging in sashimi or her favorite vice––french fries. As for a healthy snack to fend off mid-day cravings, Markle loves something crisp, sweet, and simple; apple slices with a creamy nut butter are a personal favorite.

In the interview with Winfrey, Markle describes the couple’s new life in California in one word: “Peace.” The rustic pleasures of the property are a welcome respite from their busy public lives, and offer more opportunities “to live authentically,” according to the Duchess.

Life for this busy royal has given her many titles: actress, wife, mother, Duchess, and ethical investor. Settling down in California marks a new stage for the couple, founded on a healthy balance of busy public careers and satisfying private lives.

While the red-painted wooden boards and hay-covered ground of Archie’s Chick Inn may not be Buckingham Palace, these contented chickens are certainly able to enjoy a safe home, while Markle pursues new projects and get her nest for the arrival of a new family member.

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