The couple who are no doubt immersed in wedding planning at the moment enjoyed a "fantastic" Christmas with the Royal family at Sandringham before a romantic break to Monaco to ring in the New Year. Back in London, Harry and Meghan are looking forward to carrying out a number of engagements around the UK before the wedding.
Kensington Palace press secretary Jason Knauf said: "This is the country that’s going to be her home now and that means travelling around, getting to know the towns and cities and smaller communities." Today marks Meghan's second day of royal duty; she and Harry carried out a successful day of engagements in Nottingham in early December.
The couple arrived smiling and holding hands.
An arrival video from Sky News.
Prince Harry and royal-to-be Meghan Markle are visiting Reprezent radio station in Brixton, for their second official public engagement together pic.twitter.com/41VNzGvrYK— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 9, 2018
The crowd certainly gave the couple a warm welcome.
Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle arrive at POP Brixton to visit @ReprezentRadio 🎧 pic.twitter.com/NsxphnLDod— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 9, 2018
The atmosphere in Brixton was electric. This darling little girl, Davinna, made a beautiful poster to welcome Harry and Meghan :)
Station Founder Shane Carey described the visit as a "massive profile boost". SW Londoner reports:
Station founder Shane Carey believes the Prince and Miss Markle are the perfect fit for Reprezent’s core values. He said: “The excitement internally and with the audience is great. I think from an organisational point of view it’s really good because we’ve been working with young people for years now in south and east London.
“Harry’s massively interested in youth development, mentoring young people and everybody having a chance, and that’s exactly what we think. Meghan has been very vocal on women’s rights and we’ve got a 60-40 split female-male, we’ve always had more young girls apply than blokes, so I think that’ll be good for her.”
The visit comes two weeks after Reprezent hosted a three-day collaboration including former Blur and Oasis frontmen Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher, which Mr Carey believes will be surpassed by the Royals.
He said: “That was brilliant again from a station credibility and music industry point of view, but these guys coming down, the frenzy is out of this world. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy talking to TV and media, it’s a massive profile boost for us.”
Mr Carey told Daily Mail royal reporter Rebecca English, Harry and Meghan approached him about visiting because they "admire its ethos of mentoring young people and their work on mental health". It's very interesting to hear background on how the couple are choosing their pre-wedding engagements.
They will be keenly aware of the enormous levels of media coverage they are receiving and obviously wanted to shine a light on the work at Reprezent Radio.
The Reprezent training programme was established in Peckham in 2008, in response to an alarming rise in knife crime, to help young people develop and socialise through radio. Since then, it has transformed into a hotbed of UK music talent.
From the Mail:
'Meghan confidently introduced herself, 'Hi I'm Meghan, nice to meet you too', followed by Harry, and added: 'I hear your show is very popular. I can see why you are so popular, you are so thoughtful in your approach.'
DJ Glory told her that she first came into the station when she was 16 on work experience and explained how much she had learnt about not just radio but the music industry and media in general. 'Reprezent is not just a place you go to work but it's a family, anything you need they are here for you, they nurture you until you are ready and ripe,' Glory said. 'You'll go onto Beat1….' said Meghan. 'And then there are three thousand people on the waiting list and it opens up a space for someone else to have the same experience. It's amazing, it so cool,' said Meghan, who had clearly studied her brief.'
Harry and Meghan listen to Reprezent.
A video from Victoria Murphy.
And there’s the M&S jumper! Meghan and Harry listening to @ReprezentRadio #harryandmeghan pic.twitter.com/mDPzxC0Dsv— Victoria Murphy (@QueenVicMirror) January 9, 2018
Harry has been passionate about tackling knife crime for several years. He recently discussed the problem during his stint as guest editor on BBC Radio 4. The Prince stressed the importance of positive role models encouraging young people to choose the right path.
Training hundreds of young people every year in media and employment skills, over 4,000 young people have been through the Reprezent programme, with over 3,000 on the waiting list. It offers accredited training and support in topics ranging from audio and radio production and editing to communication skills and confidence building, work experience and volunteering. Throughout training Reprezent offers personalised support to enable young people to fulfil their potential, and to progress to further education and employment opportunities. They also offer programmes supporting young people with specific issues like mental health challenges, having recently launched a regional mental health programme with a network of schools.
Many of the young people who complete training can progress onto volunteering roles as presenters and producers on Reprezent 107.3FM, and many of their young talent progress their careers with employment at some of the most prestigious media companies in the UK. Reprezent secured an FM radio licence in 2011 and the majority of their playlist is unsigned, with many artists broken via Reprezent continuing to achieve the highest music industry success.
During their visit to Reprezent FM Studios at Pop Brixton, a temporary project that has turned disused land into a creative space for local businesses, Harry and Meghan met presenters, content producers and staff, heard more about their training programmes.
Prince Harry was asked about gender equality and turned to Meghan saying "She answers the questions". More from The Telegraph:
'Once inside, the pair listened to the station broadcasting, meeting 17-year-old presenter Glory and donning headphones to listen to 'Flirt' by the artist Pote Read. Prince Harry made Meghan laugh by gesturing towards a CD mixer as if he was about to start "scratching" a track. As their few minutes with the presenter ended, Mr Markle praised her work, adding: "I can see why your show is so popular. You're so thoughtful and your approach is so engaging." She then made everyone laugh when she added: "I must tune in."
Prince Harry, who had impressed young people at the radio station with his attempt at an elaborate handshake, fell down slightly when asked by Jeremiah Asiamah whether he had heard of Giggs, a rapper. "He said 'what, events?'" Mr Asiamah wrote on Twitter afterwards. "Fair enough."
Later in the session, the Prince also demonstrated their thoroughly modern relationship as station manager Adrian Newman told him that they had a question for him during a discussion on gender equality. Prince Harry pointed at Meghan and swiftly replied: "She answers the questions. "Yes, talking of gender equality!" Ms Markle replied, with a smile on her face.'
The couple met some of the current and former volunteers who have benefitted from the training.
A special handshake for Harry.
Thank you @ReprezentRadio for welcoming Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle to your station this afternoon! 🎧 pic.twitter.com/PB0xL2Hx6v— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 9, 2018
The area's journey to where it is today has been a long and difficult one. More from Wikipedia:
'Brixton was the scene of riots in April 1981 at a time when Brixton underwent deep social and economic problems—high unemployment, high crime, poor housing, no amenities—in a predominantly African-Caribbean community. The Metropolitan Police began Operation Swamp 81 at the beginning of April, aimed at reducing street crime, largely through the repeated use of the so-called sus law, which allowed police officers to stop and search any individual on the grounds of mere "suspicion" of possible wrongdoing. Plain clothes police officers were dispatched into Brixton, and within five days almost 1,000 people were stopped and searched under this law. There was intense local indignation at this, since the vast majority of those stopped by the police were young black men. The riot resulted in almost 279 injuries to police and 45 injuries to members of the public, more than a hundred vehicles were burned (including 56 police vehicles), and almost 150 buildings were damaged, with 30 burned. There were 82 arrests. Reports suggested that up to 5,000 people were involved in the riot.
Following the 1981 Brixton riot the Government commissioned a public inquiry into the riot headed by Lord Scarman. The subsequent Scarman report was published in November 1981 and found unquestionable evidence of the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of 'stop and search' powers by the police against black people. The report made a number of recommendations and led to a new code for police behaviour in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the creation of an independent Police Complaints Authority in 1985. The 1999 Macpherson Report, an investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, found that recommendations of the 1981 Scarman report had been ignored and concluded that the police force was "institutionally racist".'
When Prince Charles visited the area with Nelson Mandela, the South African president lauded it as "heartland of the anti-apartheid struggle". The visit is still fondly remembered over two decades later. Aubrey Nunes told the Brixton Blog: "That day when Nelson Mandela came to Brixton was the most important day in the history of Brixton. I was an agent between the anti-racist and the anti-apartheid movement in London. I took my kids off school that day, which I’d never done before. It was truly special. Whoever played the national anthem only played the first half – it was a terrible mistake. I feel very proud that Brixton was singled out, it was such an honour. The most famous politician in the world comes to London and chooses Brixton. Brixton had a long, active record of supporting the freedom struggle and that was presumably registered somewhere." In recent times, the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Ebony Horse Club in Brixton in 2013
After the engagement, it was time for a quick walkabout. The photo below captures a lovely moment. The look on the Police Officer's face perfectly sums up the atmosphere and vibe outside POP Brixton.
The Mail Online reports:
'Sandra Wiltshire told MailOnline: 'It just means so much. In 1900, my grandfather signed the 1900 Uganda Agreement with Queen Victoria. Because of the royal connection we've always felt close to them.' She wept as she held their hands and told Meghan: 'Thank you, thank you for all you've done.' Speaking afterwards, she said: 'I just love Prince Harry. For him to have found someone who he really loves it is amazing. You can feel their love I wish them all the best. Ms Wiltshire ran a shop for 25 years from across Pop Brixton and added: 'I just want to say it was a dream to meet them. I wish them all the best and thank you so much for coming to Brixton.'
Meghan received flowers from locals, she was very much in her element meeting people.
Meghan and Harry surprise the crowds with a meet and greet pic.twitter.com/fAjoH0YzLw— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) January 9, 2018
'Speaking outside, after meeting the couple, 62-year-old John Loughrey said: "Meghan came up to me and I told her that I had her favourite flowers [peonies] and she said thank you. "I said congratulations on your engagement and that all the royal fans will be celebrating with you in red, white and blue. I was very touched and surprised that they came over. It was a proud moment for Brixton and we all love them."
She told one member of the public she is "so excited" about her forthcoming wedding to Prince Harry.'
Sky's royal reporter Rhiannon Mills said: "I don't think we've seen anything like this in terms of royal visits for a very long time".
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been greeted by cheering fans as they left a radio station in Brixton https://t.co/vYPflwCJ6n pic.twitter.com/TN26yxtmXh— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 9, 2018
You'll be pleased to hear she had the opportunity to give it to the couple. Meghan said "That's so sweet. Thank you sweetie. What's your name". Harry added: "I love that. Did you make that yourself". The video was filmed and kindly shared by fellow Meghan blogger 'Meghan Maven'.
Meghan and Harry greeting the crowd before leaving #Brixton today. So grateful they came over even though their car was waiting. #MeghanMarkle pic.twitter.com/Q9PTdsoiZf— Meghan Maven (@MeghanMaven) January 9, 2018
Meghan wore the Smythe Camel Brando Coat (with thanks to Meghan's Fashion). The brushed tweed piece is described as "A tailored SMYTHE coat in a sophisticated midi length. Notched lapels meet at the buttoned placket, and 3 pockets detail the front. Padding structures the shoulders. Back vent. Long sleeves. Lined." The $995 garment is now available for pre-orders.
Meghan's gorgeous black sweater is the £45 Marks & Spencer Autograph Wool Blend Round Neck Bell Sleeve Jumper (with thanks to Meghan's Mirror).
It looks very much like Meghan's belt is the Artizia Babaton Amos style she wore in Nottingham.
What Meghan Wore identified Meghan's shoes as the Sarah Flint Jay Pumps. The $395 black suede pumps feature a distinctive tortoise patent heel. They are also available at FarFetch.
Meghan's trousers are by Burberry.
Meghan accessorised with her $375 Les Plaisirs De Birks Gold Bar Earrings.
The engagement was without question a resounding success. The reaction from the crowd when Harry and Meghan arrived was incredible; Meghan herself appeared incredibly touched by the support she received. She is already doing so well, and walked in very knowledgeable of the history, work and impact of Reprezent on the community. I thought Meghan's look was perfect for the occasion. When she took off her coat and scarf, her choice of sweater and trousers with stylish heels is a classic Meghan look: professional, sophisticated and very wearable. I enjoyed seeing the mix of well-known British high-street brands with higher end retailers. Richard Palmer reported they stayed 25 minutes longer than planned and the impromptu walkabout was a real treat. As so many on social media have said today, we're very lucky to have Meghan joining the Royal family!
We have one more update before signing off. Meghan has deleted her social media accounts. It's the natural next step as she prepares to officially join the Royal family. Kensington Palace confirmed the news to the BBC, adding Meghan took the decision because "they haven't been used in some time".
Looking forward to Harry and Meghan's next engagement :)