Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Add Adorable Family Member to Their Brood

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's home will be ringing with calls for Mamma Mia, but not because they are big ABBA fans. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex adopted a beagle named Mamma Mia, who was rescued among 4,000 other beagles from the overcrowded breeding and research plant Envigo in Virginia. The beagle now calls the royals' estate in Montecito, California home.

"The duchess called me personally," animal rights attorney Shannon Keith told the Los Angeles Times this week. Keith, who runs the Beagle Freedom Project out of a Valley Village home, said she didn't realize it was Markle on the phone at first. There was no caller ID and Markle simply introduced herself as Meghan. "We talked for 30 minutes, and I thought, 'Is this Megan Fox?'" Keith said.

Markle and Harry stopped by Keith's house for an after-hours visit. Their spokeswoman confirmed the visit to the Los Angeles Times, although they have not commented on the adoption. No photos were taken when they met the beagles and only two security guards joined them.

Mia was transported to Valley Village with her eight newborn puppies. After Markle picked up Mia, she instantly decided they would adopt her, Keith recalled. "She was like 'No, we don't want a Christmas puppy... We want ones we can help who are older,'" Keith said.

When Markle heard about the Envigo shutdown, she wanted to get involved, her spokeswoman said. She wanted to adopt an older dog because puppies are often adopted before more vulnerable dogs are. Harry and Markle couldn't go home until Mia had her favorite fox toy, which she played with during her trip across the country.

The Envigo plant was described as a "house of horrors" for beagles, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. In a federal lawsuit filed against the company in May, authorities said there were multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Investigators found beagles living in disturbing conditions. Some had untreated medical issues and were not getting enough food. The food served to some dogs was moldy or had live maggots, prosecutors said. Some animals were euthanized without anesthesia and inspectors found hundreds deceased. investigators said 300 dogs died in a seven-month period from "unknown causes." After the lawsuit was filed, Envigo agreed to transfer 4,000 beagles to the Humane Society of the United States, which then sent the dogs to shelters and groups like Keith's for rehabilitation before they find homes.

Harry and Markle are parents to Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 14 months. They also have two dogs, Pula and Guy. Markle also adopted the labrador-shepherd Bogart in 2012. It is not known if Bogart lives with the royal couple today, but he was seen with them during a hike in January 2020, notes Us Weekly.