The engagements are part of the couple's plan to visit communities around the UK ahead of the wedding in May, not only to introduce Meghan who will officially be a Duchess in four months, but to give her an opportunity to get to know organisations on the ground and the work they are doing. At this point, she will be considering which charities and causes she wishes to lend her patronage to.
It's Harry and Meghan's third day of official duties; days after their engagement announcement they undertook a day of engagements in Nottingham and last week they enjoyed a visit to Brixton. They received a rousing welcome on both occasions, and it was a case of more of the same in the Welsh capital as locals turned out to welcome Prince Harry and his future bride to Wales.
'Lord Mayor of Cardiff Bob Derbyshire said the capital was “proud” to welcome the couple. He said: “Cardiff is very proud to welcome Prince Harry and Ms Markle to the city. I am sure they will enjoy their visit and we hope this will be the first of many for the couple to the Welsh capital.”
Harry and Meghan arrived later than scheduled due to a train delay.
They greeted crowds upon arrival.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle greet the crowds in Cardiff pic.twitter.com/sFtRVJ1Alf— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) January 18, 2018
Meghan thanked well wishers for waiting and braving the cold, adding she "appreciated" it.
Meghan Markle greets the crowds in Cardiff, thanks them for waiting pic.twitter.com/Z0Ih2uD456— Victoria Murphy (@QueenVicMirror) January 18, 2018
Meghan was presented with daffodils, the National Flower of Wales.
Kensington Palace tweeted "Prynhawn da Caerdydd! What an incredible welcome to Wales!"
Prynhawn da Caerdydd! What an incredible welcome to Wales! pic.twitter.com/XH6xirT38m— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 18, 2018
It's official - Prince Harry is a feminist, Meghan Markle revealed today. Jessica Phillips, 23, told Meghan she loved having a feminist in the Royal Family. pic.twitter.com/Ve2jguL5Yi— Jack Royston (@Jack_Royston) January 18, 2018
One fan, Jessica Phillips, 23, told Meghan how she admired her outspoken views on women’s rights and feminism. “He’s a feminist too, so there’s that,” Meghan told Phillips. “She was so lovely,” said Phillips. “I said it was really lovely to have a feminist in the royal family, and she said Harry is a feminist too.”
Meghan wrote a message for a girl named Caitlin. Her mum Rachel tweeted "That's going to be her most treasured possession ever. One happy mummy here".
|Chris Jackson Twitter/Rachel Clarke Twitter|
Harry, 33, and the L.A.-raised Meghan, 36, were greeted by well-wishers before being given a taste of modern Welsh life and traditional culture. Among those pressed against the barrier — and displaying her American flag — was Julie Hoefer, 31, from Dundas, Va.
“We don’t have a royal family in America, and the whole idea is amazing,” she said. “And now we have one who joined the family — finally. It is super exciting. Meghan was lovely,” Hoefer said after Meghan approached her. “She came over and was talking and showed us her ring. It was gorgeous. She said she was ‘super lucky, a very lucky woman. She asked me where I was from — I said Virginia and she said it was very nice. She was really stunning up close.”
Also among the crowd was Cynthia Osborne, a retired nurse from Cardiff. She wrapped a Welsh flag around her red Stetson-style hat and held a bunch of daffodils, the national flower of Wales.
“Meghan looks lovely, a breath of fresh air,” said Osborne. “She showed me her ring. I said to her, ‘It’s sparkling, so you’re sparkling!’ She thanked me and asked me my name. She seemed very friendly.”
A great photo of Meghan mingling.
Their first stop was the iconic Cardiff Castle.
They were presented with a traditional Celtic love spoon by local children, named Harry and Megan.
The Castle has a history dating back 2,000 years, in the heart of the capital.
Chatting with staff and volunteers.
The castle's architecturally rich Gothic Revival interiors will be put to use as the backdrop to a Welsh culture festival.
This video includes several clips of the Castle visit.
Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. Located within beautiful parklands at the heart of the capital, the Castle’s walls and fairy-tale towers conceal 2,000 years of history.
A brief summary of the fascinating history of the castle:
'The Roman fort at Cardiff was probably established at the end of the 50s AD, on a strategic site that afforded easy access to the sea. Archaeological excavations indicate that this was the first of four forts, each a different size, that occupied the present site. Remains of the Roman wall can be seen today. After the Norman conquest, the Castle’s keep was built, re-using the site of the Roman fort. The first keep on the motte, erected by Robert Fitzhamon, Norman Lord of Gloucester, was probably built of wood. Further medieval fortifications and dwellings followed over the years.
The Castle passed through the hands of many noble families until in 1766, it passed by marriage to the Bute family. The 2nd Marquess of Bute was responsible for turning Cardiff into the world’s greatest coal exporting port. The Castle and Bute fortune passed to his son John, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, who by the 1860s was reputed to be the richest man in the world.
From 1866 the 3rd Marquess employed the genius architect William Burges to transform the Castle lodgings. Within gothic towers he created lavish and opulent interiors, rich with murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. Each room has its own special theme, including Mediterranean gardens and Italian and Arabian decoration. The 3rd Marquess died when he was only 53 in 1900. Despite huge death duties on the estate, the 4th Marquess completed many of his father’s restoration projects including the reconstruction of the Roman wall. The Bute family continued to stay at the Castle throughout the 1920s and 1930s, although they had sold off many of their business interests in south Wales.
Following the death of the 4th Marquess of Bute, the family decided to give the Castle and much of its parkland to the city of Cardiff. For 25 years, the Castle was home to the National College of Music and Drama, and since 1974 has become one of Wales’ most popular visitor attractions.
It was a beautiful choice for Meghan's first taste of Wales; the surrounding grounds and gardens are breathtaking.
During their tour, Harry and Meghan met leading sportsmen and women, and saw how organisations are working to promote Welsh language and cultural identity.
The couple watched a dance performance.
Watching a dance performance pic.twitter.com/dqB2OuQydD— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) January 18, 2018
The opulent space is described: "Spectacular fairy-tale apartments, rich with murals, gilding and elaborate wood carvings, stained glass and marble, created by art-architect William Burges for the 3rd Marquess of Bute."
A wedding cake made out of Welsh cheese for Harry and Meghan. When Meghan saw the cake she said “Oh my goodness. How sweet is that?" She tasted a mature cheddar used in the cake and said it was “really delicious.”
Harry and Meghan trying Welsh cakes earlier pic.twitter.com/O0tNrikkdE— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) January 18, 2018
A warm welcome in Tremorfa.
Harry and Meghan get a noisy welcome in Tremorfa Cardiff pic.twitter.com/BtOns5B2pb— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) January 18, 2018
Doorstep sport sessions operate in disadvantaged communities and include positive activities and sport for young people when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.
Time for a spot of Jenga!
During their visit, Prince Harry and Ms Markle met young people taking part in various doorstep sessions, including street dance and table tennis. They also met young women who are taking part in the UsGirls project, set up with the aim of driving a step change in female sport participation across the UK and addressing the barriers that prevent many girls and young women from taking part in sport and physical activity. To date it has mobilised 5,000 girls and young women across Wales.
Before they left Harry said: "Everyone give Meghan a big group hug".
At the very end
Group hug for Meghan Markle! We love that Prince Harry then told the children: "Release her, she's mine!" Video by @QueenVicMirror / @DailyMirror https://t.co/mt5VIBi7tw pic.twitter.com/sqygGcrCQz— Mirror Royal (@MirrorRoyal) January 18, 2018
A fitting end to a wonderful day!
Meghan deployed a touch of sartorial diplomacy today; opting for a selection of British brands.
Meghan's black coat is the Stella McCartney Tie Detail Coat (with thanks to Queen Rania's Closet).
More from the product description:
'Looking to the traditional tuxedo for inspiration, this coat from Stella McCartney exudes androgyny. Distinguished with peak lapels and a suit jacket-style trio of pockets, the wool-blend design is punctuated with an exaggerated self-tie front. Partially lined for lightweight layering, the single hem vent ensures mobility in the longline profile.'
Underneath, Meghan wore a Prince of Wales tartan jacket by Theory (with thanks to Meghan's Fashion). It is described as "An off-the-shoulder jacket with a covered zip front and besom pockets. Made of premium Italian stretch wool with a textured yarn-dyed plaid." It originally retailed for $495 before going on sale for $198 and selling out.
Meghan's jeans are by Welsh brand Huit Denim. It looks like Meghan wore their Dina Skinny Fit - High Waist style.
More on the £175 pair:
'We chose a beautiful 12.5 oz raven black stretch denim from Candiani, Italy. They feel like an authentic black jean. But they give. Just a little. Not too much to take away the authentic denim feel, but enough to help make them easier to wear and allow the jeans to sit comfortably on your waist. Unlike other stretch denim, this premium stretch denim will not lose its shape. No saggy knees here.'
More from Wales Online on the background of the brand:
'Cardigan has a long history of making jeans - for almost 40 years the town was home to a factory that made 35,000 pairs of jeans each week for UK retailer Marks & Spencer. But in 2002 the facility closed with the loss of 400 jobs when production was moved to Morocco to cut costs.
So when David, a proud Welshman, was looking to open a factory to start making jeans, he chose the town. The company name is a combination of the first two letters of his surname and the word "utility". Now exporting 25% of its jeans, it takes Hiut about one hour and 10 minutes to make one pair, compared with 11 minutes at a highly mechanised jeans industry giant.'
For every bag purchased, DeMellier funds lifesaving vaccines and treatments aimed to save the life of a child in need, in collaboration with orphan charity SOS Children's Villages. The funds are administered through SOS Children’s Villages’ medical programmes in countries such as Somalia and Zambia, where currently 1 in 6 children do not live to see their 6th birthday.
Meghan's stylish boots are the $825 Tabitha Simmons Kiki Boots (with thanks to Japanese Ginger). They are also available at Farfetch and Browns.
They are described as "These black Tabitha Simmons Kiki velvet ankle boots will be the hot topic at the next kiki with your lady friends. These shoes have been fabricated in Italy from plush black velvet and feature a point toe, elasticated panels at both sides, a comfortable leather insole, leather sole and a block heel with a height of 75 mm." London born Stylist-turned-editor-turned footwear designer Tabitha, is known for her use of exquisite materials.
And in the fashion surprise of the day, Meghan mixed it up by wearing a different earring on each ear.
Meghan accessorised with her Zofia Day Dash Ear Stud and Gabriela Artigas Triple Shooting Star Earring, as spotted by Perth Fashion.
Missoma stacking rings.
And Meghan's Fashion received confirmation the ring on her middle finger is the Birks Yellow Gold and Diamond Splash Ring.
In their review, The Telegraph wrote: Diplomatic and sustainable: Meghan Markle ticks all the fashion boxes with her latest look:
'In her life before becoming engaged to Prince Harry, Markle was an activist for charitable causes and sustainability. Today's look demonstrated her resolve to continue those passion projects in her new role. Here's how...
She carried the Mini Venice handbag from DeMellier London, formerly Milli Millu, in forest green. A representative of the brand said the handbag sighting was 'a bit of a shock,' and they believe that Markle purchased the design herself. More than simply being chic, Markle's bag comes with a charitable purpose; for every style sold by DeMellier, the label donates funds to prevent infant death through the charity SOS Children's Villages.
Stella McCartney is the conscious generation's go-to designer for clothes which are created as sustainably as possible but still stylish enough to pass muster on red carpets, Paris fashion week catwalks- and now on royal walkabouts in Cardiff. “I’m hoping what will happen is in 10 years, people will look back at the fact that we killed billions of animals and cut down millions of acres of rain forest, and [used] water in the most inefficient way—we can’t sustain this way of living.," McCartney told American Vogue in 2017.
But it was Hiut Denim, the small Welsh brand, that emerged from the afternoon with the greatest boost to its profile. Clare and David Hieatt founded Hiut Denim in 2011. The brand is based in Cardigan, which for nearly 40 years was the site of a denim factory that employed 400 people - 10% of the town's total population. The factory produced 35,000 pairs of jeans a week until closing in 2002, leaving a swathe of skilled workers unemployed. Today the factory is once again operational, producing small-batch jeans for Hiut. Each pair includes a HistoryTag, a unique code that owners can use to document their adventures in the jeans. 'So when it's time for your jeans to get handed down or they end up in a second hand shop,' a note on the site reads, 'their stories will go with them.'
A fantastic day all round filled with a great walkabout, a fairytale castle, worthy causes, beautiful photos and moments like this :)
What do you think of Meghan's third 'royal' day out?