The couple had intended to travel to the city, which is over 115 miles from Kensington Palace, via helicopter. Due to the icy weather it was clear that mode of travel would not be possible and contingency plans were put in place. Aides said Harry and Meghan were absolutely determined to be there and travelled by train. Harry praised Great Western Railway upon arrival: "They managed to get us here. We were almost guaranteed that it wasn't going to work. It’s the only thing that works at the moment, right?"
Victoria Murphy's photo shows how slippery the ground was this morning.
Kensington Palace said the visit was planned to ensure the Sussexes could "meet members of the public, learn more about the city’s rich cultural history and visit organisations supporting communities most in need".
A staple of Harry and Meghan's 'away days' are undoubtedly the walkabouts. The inclement conditions didn't deter locals from turning out to greet them.
A group of children and their teachers from Abbeywood pre-school immediately caught their eye.
Meghan beckoned Harry over to join her and the Prince joked with the youngsters, saying: "Are you all nice and warm here?"
A terrific video from Emily Andrews captured the meeting. The little ones are adorable.
Video: #meghan beckons #harry over to meet the gorgeous tiny tots from Abbeywood nursery pic.twitter.com/BFG2OoLIFi— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) February 1, 2019
There are a plethora of interesting videos to share from today. Harry met a lady whose mother met Diana in Bristol 25 years ago. She told him her mum was "so excited she wouldn't let go after the flowers". Harry said: "I love that. I recognise everyone in that photo as well. Look after it."
The Duchess told well-wishers: "We're a few minutes late, but we tried our best to get down here fast. I hope everyone gets a nice cup of tea after this. We are just so happy to be here." Meghan revealed she was excited to visit the Old Vic Bristol theatre. She noted they have a "long-standing relationship" with her patronage the National Theatre.
Video: #meghan chats to the crowds about the weather. “I hope everyone warms up and has a nice cup of tea afterwards”. Yes pls! pic.twitter.com/BlQQkqMSBP— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) February 1, 2019
Inside Bristol Old Vic they were greeted by staff. Executive Director Sally Cordwell brought her daughter Ocean to work for the day as nursery was closed due to the weather. Three-year-old Ocean stole the show after being introduced as "Ballerina". Meghan asked her: "Is Ballerina your real name? Oh, my hands are cold thank you for warming them up. Ballerina Ocean, I think you're going to be everyone's favourite person today."
When Harry met Ocean... Harry's definitely more than ready for Baby Sussex to arrive :)
There's footage of Meghan's meeting with Ocean in addition to coverage of the walkabout and Old Vic visit below.
Built in 1766 as a place where the people of Bristol could come together, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously-working theatre in the English-speaking world.
More from the theatre on their recent redevelopment: "Our front of house has recently undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment. Our new building boasts a brand new Studio Theatre, relaxing and fully-accessible front of house space, with a bar and kitchen serving everything from tasty treats with a morning coffee to an evening meal, alongside a new interactive heritage offering – opening up the 250-year-old history of this unique building for everyone to discover and enjoy at their own pace. Our mission is to create pioneering twenty-first-century theatre in partnership with the people of our energetic city; inspired by the history and magical design of the most beautiful playhouse in the country."
The Duke and Duchess toured the recently renovated facility, finding out more about the theatre’s unique history and links to the local community.
They also dropped in on a workshop attended by local school children which is part of Bristol Old Vic’s outreach programme.
Meghan credit the theatre with providing a form for "self discovery".
"It's good that you have this," she told them. "And what a beautiful space as well, it's really special." Referring to a short tour she had just been on with her husband Prince Harry, she added: "We were just talking about it. "There's so much of the emphasis in after school clubs on sport. Channelling the energy you have into the creative arts and theatre and all of that is equally as important.
"Sport isn't for everyone, just as theatre isn't for everyone. You can know that there's a place [here] where you can find community, and sort of explore self discovery and other things you might be thinking about."
The Duke told youngsters of drama: "It's more than a hobby isn't it? It runs in your blood." The Duke and Duchess spent more than an hour at the theatre, arriving in cold and snowy conditions but determined to undertake a walkabout so meet eager wellwishers.'
A great photo from the engagement.
The couple were told about current performances and future plans.
To mark the visit they unveiled a plaque.
As they left, Harry escorted Meghan to the car and ran back to collect flowers. He told a group during the walkabout: "I spend my life giving Meghan flowers - from myself and from the people."
Harry runs back to collect some flowers from the crowd, and shouts “thank you!” as the royal couple leave @BristolOldVic pic.twitter.com/nppUPajQXz— Jonathan Holmes (@JHolmesEsq) February 1, 2019
Next on the agenda was an embargoed engagement kept under wraps until this afternoon.
The Duke and Duchess visited One25 a Bristol-based charity, specialising in enabling women to break free from street sex-work and other issues such as addiction.
One25 provide night outreach sessions, support and advocacy to over 250 women a year in the Bristol area. In terms of the difference they are making, the answer is in the statistics. Lat year, 47 women stopped street sex-working and 54 vulnerable women at risk were prevented from entering a life on the streets.
One25 work tirelessly to assist women. When asked why they are needed: "There are about 150 women sex-working on Bristol’s streets. It’s dangerous, lonely and difficult to leave. They are some of the city’s most vulnerable people, often facing several severe issues."
One25 started in May 1995 as a result of concerns from local agencies and churches about the health and well-being of female street sex-workers in Bristol. In September 1995, One25 secured a drop-in facility one afternoon per week at the Salvation Army’s Candle Project, Lower Ashley Road. It was initiated by Val Jeal, who led a small but dedicated group of like-minded people in developing the work of forming supportive relationships with the women. In January 1996, the drop-in moved to a new temporary home in the basement of 125 Cheltenham Road, which gave the project its enduring name. Around this time a consultative group was formed with representatives from relevant agencies such as Bristol Drugs Project and the BRI's sexual health clinic; a management team was formed and Val took on the role of Project Manager.
Meghan helped prepare food bags which will be given out later tonight.
As they were assembling them, Meghan said: "I saw this project this woman had started somewhere in the States on a school lunch programme. On each of the bananas she wrote an affirmation, to make the kids feel really, like, empowered. It was the most incredible idea - this small gesture." On the bananas, Meghan wrote 'You are loved', 'You are Brave', 'You are strong'.
Meghan asked for a sharpie and got to work.
At 01:20 in the video below you can hear Meghan suggesting the idea.
At 01:20 in the video below you can hear Meghan suggesting the idea.
It's thoughtful gestures like this that speak volumes and will mean a great deal to the women receiving the bags.
The Telegraph writes:
More from One25 CEO Anna Smith.
'Declaring “I am in charge of the banana messaging!”, she wrote a series of short phrases and decorated the fruit with hearts.
One charity volunteer called Sam, who is a former sex worker, said: “I can imagine being on the van, and [ hearing] ‘Meghan wrote this thing, and what?’ I think they might not eat it. I think that banana would be at home until it is rotten. Because I would do the same.”
Anna Smith, the charity’s chief executive, told the couple: “The plight of our women is often very much misunderstood, and they are stigmatised and hidden from the world.”
As she spoke, the duchess spotted that Sam was looking nervous at the prospect of having to talk to the group. She told her: “Sometimes it is the lead-up that makes it more nerve-racking. You go first! It’s like ripping a bandaid off.”
Prince Harry, speaking of how vulnerable women can be coerced, said: “When you were being groomed at such a young age, and this is the only thing you know, you completely lose faith in society. You lose trust in every man, and probably everyone else around you. From a mental health perspective you are broken.”
More from One25 CEO Anna Smith.
Hannah Furness reports Harry told the group: "When you were being groomed at such a young age, and this is the only thing you know, you completely lose faith in society. You lose trust in every man, and probably everyone else around you. From a mental health perspective you are broken." One25 are very much hoping the visit raises awareness and donations to ensure they can provide their services around the clock. If you would like to donate or find out more please click here.
Finally, the Duke and Duchess visited Empire Fighting Chance, which aims to fight the impact of deprivation on young people’s lives through boxing.
The charity supports children and young people aged 8 to 21 who are failing at school and in danger of drifting into a life of unemployment or even crime, and helps them turn their lives around.
Empire Fighting Chance works with around 250-300 children per week and runs programmes which help instil discipline, self control, and respect, whilst building self-confidence, life skills, and improving both physical and mental health and fitness.
The Bristol Post reports: 'Meghan said to a group of young girls: "Do you feel strong and confident?" They replied with a resounding "yes". The Duchess added: "You can apply the same sentiment to everything in life - just breaking it down and then you realise that you can do everything, it doesn’t seem so daunting."'
At one point Harry asked everyone to leave the room so he could talk privately with a boy who lost his father. People reports:
'Harry, who lost his mother Princess Diana when he was 12, spent 10 minutes talking to Iestyn Jones about coming to terms with his grief, telling him, “The same thing happened to me.”
“It just got a bit emotional because he mentioned something. He knew some stuff about me and the same thing happened to me. We had a chat for about 10 minutes,” Iestyn, from Kingswood near Bristol, told reporters. “When we had a group picture at the end he made sure I was standing next to him. They were lovely people. I didn’t expect them to be like that. They were amazing people.”
Iestyn beside Harry in the photo.
The Duchess wrapped up in a coat from William Vintage. The London store offers vintage haute couture pieces often in pristine condition. It's a treasure trove full of classic pieces. I seem to recall reading Amal Clooney, a friend of Meghan's, sources quite a few items there.
A closer look at the piece.
Meghan wore the elegant Oscar de la Renta Enchanted Forest Silk-Chiffon dress. It retailed for $1,813 before selling out.
The dress is described as:
'Visiting The Met Cloisters museum in New York is one of Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia's fondest memories with the late Oscar de la Renta - a sound installation they heard together inspired an ethereal Fall '18 collection. Worn on the runway, this silk-chiffon dress is printed with flora and fauna of an enchanted forest. It comes with a detachable black slip so you don't need to worry about the sheerness of the floaty fabric.'
A closer look at the dress on Meghan.
Meghan introduced green to the look in the form of the stylish Sarah Flint Marina Boots.
And the olive clutch she carried to Prince Louis' christening. Laura identified it is a Ralph Lauren piece.
Meghan accessorised with her Pippa Small Herkimer diamond studs.
The Sussexes' 'away days' are becoming their signature. Today seemed particularly special encompassing another walkabout filled with endearing moments. The Bristol Old Vic visit also dovetails with Meghan's National Theatre patronage. As is often the case with Harry and Meghan, today will be remembered for the way they connected with the people of Bristol. Be it Meghan's incredibly touching gesture at One25 or Harry's quotes on grooming and the impact of mental health. To see two members of the Royal family having these conversations is deeply meaningful and important.
I continue to be hugely impressed. Today was so packed with content I spent over five hours working on the post, with only twenty minutes of the allotted time spent on fashion. I think that sums up the depth and substance we saw today.