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Harry and Meghan's first public engagement

Loved-up Prince Harry and Meghan held hands as they greeted delighted fans in Nottingham today on their first official engagement.

The royal and his bride-to-be Meghan Markle wore matching navy jackets as they smiled and shook hands with excited fans, who had turned up in their hundreds armed with presents and Union Jacks to see the newly engaged couple.

The US actress was not wearing gloves - giving fans the chance to get a glimpse of her stunning engagement ring - with the couple barely able to keep their hands off each other.

Harry and Meghan made their way down the lines of excited fans, with the prince's fiancee appearing to be a natural as royal watchers desperately tried to get her attention.

The future royal, who will wed Prince Harry on May 26 next year, shook hands with men and women, with the crowd chanting the couple's names.

Ms Markle was wrapped up against the cold in a long dark blue coat by Mackage, and boots. She was also without gloves, so her engagement ring was on display, and carried a handbag - something the Duchess of Cambridge rarely does.

At points during the walkabout, Ms Markle put a reassuring hand on Harry's back.

 


The future royal, who will wed Prince Harry on May 26 next year, shook hands with men and women, with the crowd chanting the couple's names.

Ms Markle was wrapped up against the cold in a long dark blue coat by Mackage, and boots. She was also without gloves, so her engagement ring was on display, and carried a handbag - something the Duchess of Cambridge rarely does.

At points during the walkabout, Ms Markle put a reassuring hand on Harry's back.

The prince and his fiancee appeared eager to meet the public with Harry at one point asking someone "can I shake your hand?".

He then smiled when a well-wisher shouted, from three or four rows back behind a crash barrier: "How does it feel being a ginger with Meghan?"

The former Army officer replied with a grin "It's great, isn't it?", when the man prompted "unbelievable?", Harry responded "unbelievable".

As the walkabout progressed a woman asked the former actress how she felt about being in Nottingham and she replied: "I'm so happy, it's real good to be here".

The future Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have both expressed their desire to use their position to raise awareness for charities, kicked off their six-month tour of the UK with a welcome at the National Justice Museum.

It was the first time that fans had been given the chance to meet the loved up pair, who will wed in May next year, as a couple.

As the couple waved and smiled at crowds, Kensington Palace said that Prince Harry was "delighted" to be introducing his future wife to Nottingham.

The newly engaged couple split up to chat with lines of crowds, accepting everything from chocolate to greeting cards.

Once inside, Harry was shown to be wearing a white collared shirt paired with a blue blazer, with Meghan wore a pleated brown skirt paired with boots.

The couple were all smiles as they chatted to those attending the event.

Ian Curryer, chief executive of Nottingham City Council, gave the couple a Robin Hood badge each, to commemorate the visit.

Just before heading into the Nottingham Contemporary gallery for a World Aids Day fair hosted by the Terrence Higgins Trust, Harry spotted a familiar face in the crowd - Irene Hardman.

She had been waiting to give them Haribo sweets, having already presented Harry's brother and father with a couple of bags of the sweets in the past several decades.

She laughed and chatted with the couple and handed a goody bag to Ms Markle, containing fridge magnets and other gifts.

She said afterwards that the meeting was "very emotional". Through tears of joy, she said: "I cried - she's wonderful, and it's fantastic.

"They're so genuine."

The prince has forged links with the city through the work of the Full Effect programme and has visited several times to see its work in action, including opening a police station there last year.

And today Meghan, who will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales, will be by the side of her royal fiance in attending the Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day charity fair.

They are also expected to visit the Nottingham Academy to meet headteachers taking part in the Full Effect programme.

The project provides early intervention and training to children and young people in the St Ann's area of Nottingham who may become involved in youth violence and crime.

It's a project that is close to Prince Harry's heart, with his communications secretary Jason Knauf saying the prince is "looking forward to introducing Ms Markle to a community that has become very special to him".

Ste Grocock, 30, of Arnold said: “It’s just an exciting time for Nottingham for someone of such stature for their first official engagement as a couple".

Adele Read, of West Bridgford, said: “ I’m thrilled to pieces with their forthcoming marriage. I think they make a lovely couple. I met Harry in the spring when they came, I shook his hand.”

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