Dazzling debut from a star with plutonium grade social skills: JAN MOIR joins the crowds as Meghan sparkled on her first official engagement
- Proud and beaming Prince Harry brought fiancée Meghan Markle to Nottingham
- The couple thrilled fans with 30-minute walkabout after coming up from London
- ?Meghan soon peeled off on her own, confidently striding across the cobbles
Can you see her? Can you see her? Is she there? Where is she? Meg-han! On a frosty morning in Nottingham, expectant crowds waited in their bobble hats and fleecy layers to bear witness to a new chapter of royal life – and to experience the Markle Sparkle for themselves.
A proud and beaming Prince Harry brought his fiancée Meghan Markle to the city on their first official engagement, which was to mark World Aids Day. After travelling up from London on the train, the couple thrilled fans with a 30-minute walkabout, before they visited a charity fair and a local school.
On the High Pavement in the city’s historic Lace Quarter, I was among the hundreds of fans who were shrieking and cheering as the actress appeared among them, complete with a royal wave that is already accomplished and assured.
On a frosty morning in Nottingham, expectant crowds waited in their bobble hats and fleecy layers to bear witness to a new chapter of royal life – and to experience the Markle Sparkle
Meghan was seen braving the winter chill as she left Nottingham Academy without her coat, while Harry swapped his coat for a navy jacket
She showed off her camel skirt by Joseph, which she accessorised with a black belt
Make like Meghan in a midi skirt by Joseph
Meghan Markle was a natural star as she met the crowds in Nottingham, England on her first official royal engagement. And she certainly looked the part! This ensemble ticked the royal boxes keeping things sophisticated, but we were loving her wintry look in a midi skirt and a cosy looking coat.
The skirt is by Joseph and we love the utilitarian vibe it exudes and how its volume and heavy cotton finish is the perfect fit for winter weather.
You can buy this skirt, so why not steal a slice of Meghan's style by clicking through to MyTheresa.com (right)?
Alternatively, choose a similar midi skirt for less below. Pair with boots to keep you warm and stylish this season.
Meghan later took off her navy coat to reveal a black polo neck top underneath
At Harry’s side, she glowed in the pale winter sunshine, the perfect curve of her Hollywood teeth set in an easy smile, her lips glossed, her manner relaxed.
The royal couple started their walkabout together, but remarkably Meghan soon peeled off on her own, confidently striding across the cobbles in her heels to meet fans on the other side of the street. She accepted an engagement congratulations card from Anthony Biggs, 48, a local NHS worker.
‘I thought she was adorable,’ he said. ‘Warm and generous, and perfect for Harry.’ Corri Burns, 64, a songwriter who once auditioned on the X Factor, had whirred into prime position by the kerb on her mobility scooter.
She talked to Meghan about California, where they once both lived. ‘We talked about the weather,’ she said. ‘I asked Meghan if she was enjoying England and she said: “Oh, yes.” I thought she was great. She was not what I expected.
At Harry’s side, she glowed in the pale winter sunshine, the perfect curve of her Hollywood teeth set in an easy smile, her lips glossed, her manner relaxed
‘She was dainty and petite, like a little bird.’
While it took Kate Middleton three whole months to become a fully-fledged working royal, Meghan, 36, has thrown herself in the deep end after just five days.
But after years at the craggy coal-face of showbusiness, the newest member of the Royal Family took everything in her stride.
Charming with all who had queued in the cold to say hello and wish her well, she could engage, talk about the weather, admire babies and even smile when people told her repeatedly that ‘Diana would have loved you’.
‘I’m so happy,’ the actress said. ‘It’s just such a thrill to be here.’ She could also get in and get out of conversations with ease, no doubt the kind of plutonium-grade cocktail party skills she has picked up on the red carpet.
Here in Nottingham, her debut on the royal carpet was the same, but different. ‘We’re not allowed,’ she said apologetically, when fans asked for selfies. She bent down to pick up someone’s dropped glove, and handed it back over the security barrier. When a young woman complained of cold hands, Meghan fished a handwarmer out of her pocket and gave it to her.
A young man with flaming ginger hair prompted laughter when he cheekily suggested that Harry may be ‘punching above his weight’. ‘How does it feel to be a ginger with Meghan?’ ‘Great, isn’t it?’ Harry replied, ‘unbelievable!’
This was Meghan’s first taste of the Midlands, which is just like the Midwest, only with marginally fewer cowboys. It was also her first taste of the eccentricities of British royal life, as fans pressed her with gifts including fridge magnets, garage forecourt flowers and Haribo sweets.
The royal couple started their walkabout together, but remarkably Meghan soon peeled off on her own, confidently striding across the cobbles in her heels
While it took Kate Middleton three whole months to become a fully-fledged working royal, Meghan, 36, has thrown herself in the deep end after just five days
She gave a nod to her new home with her skirt, which was by British brand Joseph
Harry and Meghan posed for a group shot with the cast of a hip hop opera during their visit?
She and Harry opted for complementary colours in the form of navy coats with sand-coloured accents?
Meghan flew the flag for Canada, where she had lived until recently, in a navy double breasted coat from the Canadian brand Mackage?
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appeared to be in perfect sync as they arrived in Nottingham for their first royal engagement on Friday
Happy couple: But the future royal's boots - believed to be from Kurt Geiger - were a nod to the British high street
A local character known as The Owl Man of Nottingham took along his pet barn owl Kim to meet the royal pair. ‘He’s bringing his bird, so I’m bringing mine,’ he told a reporter from Hello! magazine. To the dismay of television crews and photographers, Harry and Meghan gave him (and Kim) a wide berth.
After half an hour of pressing the flesh, the couple went into Nottingham Contemporary art gallery for a Terrence Higgins World Aids Day charity fair.
Later they travelled to the nearby Nottingham Academy to learn more about Full Effect, a programme working to mentor young people at risk of, and affected by, youth violence. The future royal bride had dressed down for this low-key beginning to the rest of her life.?
A proud and beaming Prince Harry brought his fiancée Meghan Markle to the city on their first official engagement, which was to mark World Aids Day
Meghan wore a ￡520 navy coat from Canadian designer Mackage, which had more than a hint of Captain Poldark about it. The rest of her take-me-seriously outfit consisted of a Joseph skirt (￡600), a Wolford polo neck and ￡280 Kurt Geiger boots. She also carried a ￡455 handbag from Strathberry of Scotland.
Just as in their engagement interview on television, the couple were extremely tactile – in fact they were hardly able to keep their mitts off each other throughout the day.
They held hands, they would stroke each other’s backs through the lush cashmere pelts of their coats, they would frequently pat each other on the arm.?
Although Meghan does not yet have the electrifying effect on a crowd that Princess Diana did, it seems clear that Harry is going to take a delight in her popularity in a way that Prince Charles never could with his first wife. At first the heir to the throne was perplexed by Diana’s celebrity, then it coarsened into irritation.
This relationship appears to be entirely different. During their visit to the Academy, Meghan broke with royal consort protocol by walking in front of Harry, then being introduced and shaking hands with dignitaries before him.?
He didn’t seem the slightest bit bothered. This seems to signal the launch of a new royal team of true equals, the like of which we have never seen before.
During their visit to the Academy, Meghan broke with royal consort protocol by walking in front of Harry, then being introduced and shaking hands with dignitaries before him
?He didn’t seem the slightest bit bothered. This seems to signal the launch of a new royal team of true equals, the like of which we have never seen before
The Suits star showed off her slender waist during her first official engagement with Harry
Meghan displayed her glowing complexion with a natural make-up look on Friday?
The couple appeared in perfect sync as they moved along the seemingly endless line of well-wishers
Meghan was carrying a ￡455 handbag by Scottish brand Strathberry in burgundy as she met with well-wishers?
Meghan wore her brunette tresses in loose waves for her initial engagement, and opted for a soft beauty look with a slick of berry lipstick
Such a dazzling and confident debut begs comparison with the royal brides who came before her.
Diana and Fergie, Sophie and Kate, all of them the kind of upper-crust or posh gels who knew how to negotiate a diplomatic dinner and wear a tiara, but – in the early days of their marriages at least – always gave the impression that they were nothing more than trembling does in the royal forest, ears forever cocked for the sound of the hunter’s horn.
This remarkable young woman is entirely different. As Meghan Markle worked the crowds in Nottingham, it was a pleasure to see a royal partner already so at ease with herself and her role.?
Yet for those who hail her very existence as a starburst of new royal feminism, I give you two words. The Queen.
Still, what an impressive debut. Meghan Markle was not born to be a princess, but she moves with ease in her brave new world.?
But PS: Why does a wan Kate look so down in the dumps?
She's normally the one charming crowds and posing for photos. But the Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed an unusually low-key outing yesterday while Meghan Markle was in the limelight for her royal debut in Nottingham.
Kate, 35, had her hair scraped back and looked a little glum as she strolled towards King’s Cross station in London.
Kate, 35, had her hair scraped back and looked a little glum as she strolled towards King’s Cross station in London
She pulled her ￡99.99 Zara jacket closer to her in chilly temperatures of around 4C, which she teamed with a poloneck and jeans.
Kate, who usually wears towering heels, was instead wearing black flat boots as she enjoyed an off-duty morning alone.
It is unclear where the duchess, who is due to give birth to her third child in April, was going but her arrival at the station coincided with that of Harry and his fiancee, who travelled to the Midlands by rail.
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