Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Had Their First Royal Outing & It Was Super Sweet
Now that they are officially engaged, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting to work. On Friday, Harry and Markle's first outing as an engaged couple consisted of a trip to Nottingham, England. According to Kensington Palace's Twitter account, "The visit today focuses on causes that HRH is particularly passionate about – raising the awareness of HIV/AIDS and preventing youth crime." As reported by Today, the Prince of Wales has visited Nottingham before, where he's dedicated much of his time helping to battle AIDS and the stigmas that come with the disease. This is an issue that was also near and dear to Princess Diana, his late mother.
As tweeted by the Palace, they first stopped at the Nottingham Contemporary Exhibition Centre, where they met teachers and students celebrating Dec. 1's World AIDS day. The event was hosted by the Terrence Higgins Trust, which per Kensington Palace is the U.K.'s "largest voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services."
The couple also stopped by Nottingham Academy to see the work established by the program Full Effect, which was founded by Harry through The Royal Foundation, as tweeted by the Palace. The purpose of the program is to mentor young individuals in staying away from crime. Markle and Harry also met with many children during their visit, including those who partake in kickboxing provided by Full Effect's Friday Night Youth Club. They also watched some of the students perform a Hip-Opera.
Harry and Markle aren't strangers to philanthropic work. It's something that the former Suits actor, who is an advocate for U.N. Women and worked with World Vision, spoke about during their first joint interview.
"As you said, the causes that have been very important to me, I can focus even more energy on because very early out of the gate we realized once you have access or a voice that people are willing to listen to with that comes a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously."
Markle also opened up about her excitement about the charity work that's ahead now that it has been announced she is marrying Harry. They both also expressed their "passions for wanting to make change."
"At the same time," she said, "I think in these beginning few months and now being boots on the ground in the U.K., I'm excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organizations, we're working on the same causes that I've always been passionate about under this umbrella, and also being able to go around to the commonwealth, I think it's just the beginning."
This outing also marks Markle's first time meeting royal supporters. As you can see above, both she and Harry shook hands in the crowd that was gathered waiting for their arrival. They were all, obviously, beyond excited to meet the newly engaged couple, who announced their intention to wed on Monday. They are set to marry in May at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
In addition to the great work they are doing together, what makes this outing so wonderful is witnessing Harry and Markle's love for another. They are extremely affectionate with each other. Whether they're staring at each other lovingly, holding hands, or smiling together, you can tell how much they care about one another.
The same can be said of Kate Middleton and Prince William, but they never seem to put their affection on display during official outings. Myka Meier, the founder and director of Beaumont Ettiquette, told People, "While Prince Harry and Meghan holding hands is atypical for royal engagements, it is a seemingly welcomed gesture to show unity and celebration of their engagement period."
Per Meier, royal couples aren't known for holding hands, but it's just up to what each couple prefers and depends on the type of event. However, she added, "Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representatives of the royal family."
It's clear that Harry and Markle will not only do inspiring charity work, but are going to bring a much-needed fresh perspective to what it means to be in a royal romance — and it's a welcomed change.