January 14, 2019 06:42 AM
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This year will be a big one for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – after all, there’s a move to the country and a baby on the horizon – and now their first joint engagement of 2019 is underway!

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the town of Birkenhead, Merseyside, on Monday to meet with a number of local organizations that support groups in the community.

The parents-to-be arrived hand-in-hand, with Meghan trading her usually dark attire for not one, but two bold color choices. She wore a purple Babaton by Aritizia dress under a red coat by Sentaler, worn with a belt tied just over her growing baby bump. (If the jacket looks familiar, Meghan wore the same one in camel for her Christmas walk debut in 2017!)

Meghan, 37, completed the look with Stuart Weitzman Nouveau Suede Pumps in red, a brown purse and her hair pulled back into her signature low bun.

Harry, 34, stuck to a classic blue sweater and button-down combination under a grey jacket.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Meghan Markle
PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Meghan Markle
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

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First, the royal parents-to-be headed to Hamilton Square to unveil a plaque for a new sculpture marking the 100th anniversary of celebrated poet and soldier Wilfred Owen’s death. Meghan and Harry also met local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, which Owen belonged to.

The couple – who were affectionate during their visit, with Harry sweetly placing his hand on Meghan’s back – then greeted fans at a public walkabout.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Meghan and Harry then helped officially open the new location of Number 7, a Feeding Birkenhead citizen’s supermarket and community café. Feeding Birkenhead is a coalition of churches, food banks, community groups and other organizations working together to eliminate hunger in Birkenhead. The royal couple met a number of the supermarket’s staff and members, learning more about how Number 7 helps to build the community’s resilience against hunger.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Meghan Markle
PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Their final stop of the visit was Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, an organization established in 2011 to support women upon their release from prison. It has since expanded to offer an extensive range of training courses for more than 6,000 local women, including support groups around mental health issues, domestic abuse and addiction.

Sharna Kennedy, communications officer at Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, tells PEOPLE that the royal couple were given “real insight” into what a day at the organization is like and heard directly from the women to hear their personal stories.

“Meghan has said in the past that ‘women don’t need to find a voice, they need to feel empowered to use it and they need people to listen.’ By this visit we will raise the profile for people to listen,” says Kennedy.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

The visit to Birkenhead marks the couple’s first joint outing since joining Prince WilliamKate MiddletonQueen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family for their traditional church visit on Christmas. Meghan opted for a deep navy dress and a Victoria Beckham coat with a matching fascinator for the annual event, where she proved that a growing baby bump didn’t stop her from dipping for a perfect curtsy to the Queen.

Meghan Markle
Clodagh Kilcoyne - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan stepped out last week to visit Smart Works, one of the four newly announced patronages that she will back during her royal life. She played stylist, helping women find professional outfits for job interviews at the organization which helps vulnerable and longterm unemployed women regain the skills and confidence to get into work.

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