Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Cardiff

In the couple’s first engagement in Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Cardiff yesterday, hoping to showcase ‘some of the rich culture and heritage of Wales’.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Cardiff Castle. Picture by Ben Stevens / i-Images

Harry and Meghan’s day didn’t get off to a great start, arriving at Cardiff Castle an hour late thanks to their delayed train. They began by greeting crowds and apologising for their tardiness, noting that while it was cold, it at least wasn’t raining!

“We’ve been lucky with the weather, so I’m told!” Meghan said to well-wishers, while Harry commented on the ‘freezing cold hands’ that he shook.

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Jessica Phillips, 23, commented to the American that she was happy to have a feminist in the Royal Family. Ms Markle replied: “He [Harry] is a feminist too, so there’s that.”

Heading inside, they joined a festival celebrating Welsh culture. In the Arab Room, Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan heard performances from Welsh musicians and poets, as well as meeting athletes, like adventurer Richard Parks, and former Wales rugby player Scott Quinnell and Jonathan Ford.

Organisations that promote the Welsh language and cultural identity were also there to greet the royal couple, and explain the uniqueness of the Welsh heritage. This is also an area that Prince Charles, as Prince of Wales, supports.

Cardiff Castle dates back to at least the 11th century at the site of a much earlier Roman Fort, and the history with which the place is imbued made it perfect for the engagement.

Of course, no visit to Wales could pass by without showcasing the cheese! Ms Markle – whose real first name is Rachel – tried a wedding cake made of local cheese calling it “Very good,” before adding, “Wow, it’s great.” She and Harry also sampled Welsh Cakes.

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It seems the former army captain is keen to show his bride the UK before they marry, introducing her to the people and the country – which will be her new home – to her.

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The couple received an early wedding gift from their namesakes, Megan Taylor, nine, and six-year-old Harry Smith. The pair gave the royal Harry and Meghan a Welsh love spoon.

The American actress said: “Oh my goodness, wow, it’s beautiful, thank you very much.”

Tremorfa’s leisure centre was the couple’s final stop in Cardiff, where they heard about how StreetGames – an organisation the Prince has worked with previously – is helping to make sport accessible to disadvantaged young people.

Prince Harry and Meghan watched a dance performance inside, which they were visibly impressed by. One youngster was too shy to dance, and Meghan noticed heading over to reassure her.

Showing his jokey side, Harry told the group of dancers: “Everyone give Meghan a group hug!”

After they all crowded around her (the Prince too!) he said, “And release, she’s mine!” After the hug, one girl sweetly said that she was going to dance at the couple’s wedding.

Grace Jones, nine, who also danced, said: “They asked how long have you been doing dancing. We shook hands with them. I was a little bit nervous but it was fun at the same time.”

The pair also chatted with children and played table tennis, plus a game of Jenga for Meghan.

Also of note on the day, was that Meghan has been given her first dedicated member of staff, in the form of her own assistant private secretary. Amy Pickerill used to be part of the press office but is now on the more personal side of the staff, accompanying Meghan on engagements, taking the flowers and presents she receives, as well as organising her schedule; for now, this will align with Prince Harry’s until she has more confidence and takes on her own patronages.

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