The newly engaged couple stepped out at Cardiff Castle, a 2,000-year-old historic site that features Rapunzel-worthy towers and opulent interiors. The visit marked the latest milestone in the ongoing introduction of Meghan to the British public in the countdown to the royal wedding on May 19. Meghan honored the locale by pairing her black Stella McCartney coat (shop a similar style here) with pants by Welsh brand Hiut Denim.
The couple was all smiles as they held hands while they greeted the crowds gathered outside the castle.
Harry, 33, and the L.A.-raised Meghan, 36, were greeted by well-wishers before being given a taste of modern Welsh life and traditional culture. Among those pressed against the barrier — and displaying her American flag — was Julie Hoefer, 31, from Dundas, Va.
“We don’t have a royal family in America, and the whole idea is amazing,” she said. “And now we have one who joined the family — finally. It is super exciting.”
“Meghan was lovely,” Hoefer said after Meghan approached her. “She came over and was talking and showed us her ring. It was gorgeous. She said she was ‘super lucky, a very lucky woman.’
“She asked me where I was from — I said Virginia and she said it was very nice. She was really stunning up close.”
Megan McAuley, 10, held up a sign saying “My name is Megan too!” — and it worked. Her namesake spotted it and came dashing across the gravel path outside the castle door to say hello.
“She saw my sign. I said, ‘Your name’s Meghan too!’ And she said, ‘It’s very nice to meet you. Can I call you Meg?’ ” said McAuley, who handed her “a nice flowery necklace. She said, ‘Thank you for my present. It’s very nice to meet you.’”
Shivering as she spoke, Megan added, “I think she’s really pretty and it was very kind of her to come over.”
Also among the crowd was Cynthia Osborne, a retired nurse from Cardiff. She wrapped a Welsh flag around her red Stetson-style hat and held a bunch of daffodils, the national flower of Wales.
“Meghan looks lovely, a breath of fresh air,” said Osborne. “She showed me her ring. I said to her, ‘It’s sparkling, so you’re sparkling!’ She thanked me and asked me my name. She seemed very friendly.”
The castle gates were thrown open to the public at 9 a.m., enabling as many as people as possible to join the crowds. Meghan and Harry’s last outing was in Brixton on January 9, and they are expected to make several more before their Windsor Castle wedding.
Earlier, Cardiff’s city council leader Huw Thomas said they were delighted to “extend a warm Welsh welcome” to the couple, adding, “Their visit will aim to showcase some of the rich heritage and culture that we are very proud of here in Cardiff.”
After the excitement of the crowds, the couple watched performances from musicians and poets, met some famous local athletes and learn about the bodies that promote the Welsh language and cultural identity.
Their second outing in the capital was scheduled at Star Hub, a community and leisure center in the eastern suburb of Tremorfa where they were set to hear how the center helps young people excel through sports. It is a key area of Harry’s public work and the charity StreetGames, which the prince has regularly worked with, will show off some of their local programs.