Meghan Markle Wins Over the U.K. in Her First Royal Visit With Prince Harry

The couple attends the Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair in Nottingham

By Zach Johnson Dec 01, 2017 11:55 AMTags
Watch: Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Shake Hands With Fans

Meghan Markle doesn't waste any time.

Four days after Clarence House announced Prince Harry had proposed over a homemade dinner earlier this month, the couple attended their first royal engagement in Nottingham Friday. Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, visited a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair. They spent time shaking hands with admirers in the crowd, who waved both U.S. and U.K. flags.

Meghan, who wore a navy coat by Canadian brand Mackage, received flowers upon her arrival.

At one point, a fan shouted at Harry and asked, "How does it feel being a ginger with Meghan?" The prince smiled and replied, "It's great, isn't it?" Harry also jokingly agreed it's "unbelievable."

The duo, who will tie the knot in May 2018, will meet representatives from local organizations that support people living with HIV/AIDS, and try to end the stigma associated with the disease. At Nottingham Academy, the couple will meet students and watch a "hip hopera." They'll also see Chantelle Stefanovic, who joined Harry at the Obama Foundation summit in Chicago last month. The prince's communication's secretary, Jason Knauf, said Harry was looking forward to introducing his fiancée to a community that had "become very special to him." Harry opened up a pop-up shop for HIV testing last month, and he helped set up the Full Effect project to tackle youth violence and gang culture. In a press briefing Tuesday, Jason also said the former Suits star "cannot wait to meet many of the young people Prince Harry has told her so much about."

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Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA Wire
Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA Wire
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Jason also said Meghan would be shifting from her longtime charity and moving toward partnering with Harry's philanthropic initiatives. "Ms. Markle is incredibly grateful for the opportunities that she has had with World Vision Canada and U.N. Women," Jason said. "Through those organizations, she has been able to meet incredible smaller organizations around the world—but she has made the decision that she wants to start a clean slate and focus on the U.K. and getting to know this country and traveling around the Commonwealth."

She also intends to become a British citizen. "This is the country that's going to be her home now," he said, "and that means traveling around, getting to know the towns and cities and smaller communities." The actress will also become the fourth patron of the Royal Foundation.


Harry has followed in the footsteps of his mother, the late Princess Diana, in trying to end the stigma around AIDS/HIV. Diana was also a supporter of Terrence Higgins Trust, and Harry and his brother, Prince William, have carried on her efforts—with Kate Middleton's help, of course.

Meghan said Monday that she is looking forward to this "new chapter" in her life, particularly the charitable work. "We realized once you have access and a voice that people are willing to listen to, with that comes a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously," she told the BBC, with Harry by her side. "And now being boots on the ground in the U.K., I'm excited to really get to know more about the different communities here, [and learn about the] smaller organizations who are working on the same causes I have always been passionate about under this umbrella."