Here's how Suits' season 8 premiere referenced Meghan Markle's exit

It’s been a few months now since the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, popped out to get some milk got married to Prince Harry and gave up both her acting career and her role as Rachel Zane on Suits. But that doesn’t mean the show has forgotten about her.

Suits returned for its season eight premiere in the US last night (July 18), marking the first episode to air since Meghan and co-star Patrick J Adams had been written out of the show in the season seven finale.

Rachel and Mike (Adams) got their happy ending at the end of last season, which saw the happy couple finally get married and then move to Seattle to run a new law firm together.

By the season eight premiere, the couple had already left to make a start on their new life in Washington, and the show kicked off its new era with a nod to the big departures hanging over the series – so, yes, spoilers will follow the picture.

©  USA Network

In the episode’s opening scenes, Rachel’s dad Robert (Wendell Pierce) is settling into his new office at the newly-named Zane Specter Litt with Donna’s (Sarah Rafferty) help when he gets distracted by Rachel’s empty office.

“I’m gonna miss her too,” Donna tells Robert, who replies by saying: “I’m not sure what’s worse, finding out Mike is a fraud or him taking my daughter away.”

But Rachel also left a surprise behind for her father to make him feel more at home in the law firm, with Donna handing over a framed picture of Rachel and Mike together.

“A little welcome-to-the-firm present from your little girl,” Donna says.

Meghan’s in-real-life wedding followed a month after her on-screen one, as she married Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May.

Following Meghan and Patrick’s departures from the series, Suits signed up Emmy-winning Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl for its eighth series as new character Samantha Wheeler.

Suits airs on USA in the US and on Netflix in the UK.

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