Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, pictured her at the 2023 Invictus Games, went to Portugal after the games ended to see Princess Eugenie and her family. Photo: Invictus Games Foundation/Twitter Invictus Games Foundation/Twitter

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did not go straight back home to their children in California after wrapping up the 2023 Invictus Games. They went for a quick romantic getaway to Portugal where they also paid a close relative a visit.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrapped up the games in Düsseldorf, Germany on September 16. Then from there, they made a detour to the beach town of Melides, according to Portuguese magazine Nova Gente.

The couple "arrived in Portugal without their children and as soon as they landed, they headed to Alentejo and more precisely to Melides," the publication reported in this week's issue which saw the couple on the front cover along with the headline "Prince Harry and Meghan Secret Portugal Visit".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a "lightning visit" to the country. It was a private "romantic getaway" which the couple "preferred not to advertise, either through the press or through their social networks".

The magazine also called the visit a "mega-secret operation" to reunite with a close royal relative, Princess Eugenie. The second daughter of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew relocated to Portugal with her husband Jack Brooksbank and their two children, August, two, and Ernest, four months, because of his profession. Brooksbank works in the Marketing and Sales Department of Costa Terra Golf & Ocean Club, a luxury resort located in the region.

It is possible that Princess Eugenie invited the couple since they were already in Europe. She and Brooksbank also have a home in Melides. After the side trip, they then flew back home to be with their children Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two.

Local witnesses claimed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left Lisbon's Humberto Delgado Airport on a British Airways flight to Heathrow on the way to Los Angeles on September 20. Fellow passengers told the magazine that the couple were with two of their bodyguards when they arrived at the airport in a white van and that they were "smiling slightly".

Meghan Markle was dressed in a three-quarter-length sleeve dress, flat shoes and had discreet makeup. She also appeared "tired". Meanwhile, Prince Harry chose his go-to casual wear which consists of a T-shirt, jeans and trainers. Another source further confirmed the trip, saying that "reports coming out of Portugal are accurate".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have remained close with Princess Eugenie despite the couple's falling out with other members of the royal family especially with Prince William and King Charles III. She was featured in the Netflix documentary "Harry & Meghan" and has been seen on several occasions paying the Sussexes a visit in California.