Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first public engagement

 In U.S.

Meghan Markle looks like she will fit into her new role as a royal just fine after nailing her first public engagement with Prince Harry in Nottingham.

The newly engaged royal couple greeted hundreds of fans in the streets on Friday morning who were waving British and American flags and holding flowers to give them.

The couple appeared happy and relaxed chatting to fans together and on their own. Markle was wearing a long skirt and navy woollen coat in the chilly UK weather, and smiled easily as she accepted flowers and flashed her engagement ring.

One cheeky member of the public shouted at Prince Harry: “How does it feel being a ginger with Meghan?”

“It’s great isn’t it?” The prince replied. A US broadcast network remarked how the actress “showed no signs of nerves” in her first appearance.

Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle speak with teachers and pupils at the Nottingham Academy. Photo / AP
Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle speak with teachers and pupils at the Nottingham Academy. Photo / AP

The couple visited two of Prince Harry’s separate projects in the city, on HIV/AIDS and youth crime. A strong security presence was in place, with metal barriers and police on hand.

Ahead of the event, a spokesman for Kensington Palace said Prince Harry is “looking forward to introducing Markle to a community that has become very special to him.”

“Ms Markle cannot wait to meet many of the young people Prince Harry has told her so much about.”

Irene Hardman, 81, who has handed bags of candy to both Princes William and Harry and their father, Prince Charles said it was “wonderful” to see the couple.

“It is absolutely wonderful and fantastic, and we privileged they’ve chosen Nottingham to be their first official engagement,” she said, adding that she had another goodie bag ready to hand over. This one has two fridge magnets “so they don’t fight over it.”

Holly Burdett, who is originally from West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, but now lives in Sydney had returned home on the “gamble” that the couple would announce their engagement while she was here.

“I always thought I’d marry Harry but you can’t win them all,” she joked. “As long as they’re happy, that’s all that matters.”

The appearance came following news the wedding will take place on 26 May, a Saturday which kicks off the Spring Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and Memorial Day in the US.

Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle speak with teachers and pupils at the Nottingham Academy. Photo / AP
Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle speak with teachers and pupils at the Nottingham Academy. Photo / AP

The couple had to plan around Princess Charlotte’s birthday on May 2, the third royal baby due in April and the Queen’s birthday celebrations in early June. While the date has not been officially confirmed, it is unlikely to have been approved by Queen Victoria. The Sun claims she considered it unlucky to marry in May, according to the superstitious rhyme “Marry in May, and rue the day”.

On Friday, the pair hosted an event for the Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair and met teachers and students from local schools as well as staff with Full Effect — a program supported by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry since 2013. Meghan Markle will join the charity following the wedding in May 2018 and renounce her other commitments.

The first visit was keenly watched by fans seeking to get a glimpse of the newest member of the royal family. It’s expected Meghan will take on the title of Duchess of Sussex once the pair marry in Windsor. She will also become known as Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales.

The famous couple announced their official engagement in London this week with an official interview and public appearance in which they revealed Prince Harry popped the question while “trying to roast a chicken” during a “cosy” night at Nottingham Cottage where they live.

The wedding will take place at St Georges chapel inside the Queen’s estate in Windsor castle and is expected to be a day of “fun and joy”.

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