As Meghan Markle said last week, "there's no better time" to shine a light on women's issues


As Meghan Markle said last week, “there’s no better time” to shine a light on women’s issues. With the help of her fiancé, Prince Harry, the two marked International Women’s Day in a very special way — and made at least one little girl very happy.

The couple, who will tie the knot in May, traveled to the heart of England in Birmingham to meet with locals and showcase some of the causes and interests that they want to champion in their royal life.

As soon as they arrived on Thursday, Harry and Meghan — in a J. Crew coat, black cropped trousers by Alexander Wang, and a wool and cashmere jumper by AllSaints — went on a walkabout outside the Millennium Point building, greeting excited locals like they have in Nottingham, Cardiff, Wales and Edinburgh, Scotland.

During their quick visit with locals, Harry made a 10-year-old budding actress’ day when he took her to meet his fiancée.

The prince, 33, asked Sophia Richards, from Oasis Academy, Warnson, what she wanted to be when she was older. When she replied, he took her by the hand over to Meghan, 36.

“Meghan told me that I can achieve whatever I want to achieve. And Meghan said she would like to see me on TV when I become an actress,” Richards says. “It was a dream come true. I will never forget this day.”

Meghan then gave her a hug before Harry took her back to her classmates.

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Birmingham
Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Birmingham
Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Birmingham
Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

And on International Women’s Day, the advancement of females in science and engineering fields was at the front of their minds. Inside the Millennium Point, Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, joined young people at an event hosted by the social enterprise, Stemettes, where young women were taking part in a variety of activities designed to boost recognition of science, technology, engineering and math–based education and jobs.

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Only 21 percent of those working in STEM occupations in 2016 in the U.K. were women, according to Judith Armstrong, CEO of Millennium Point, who called their visit a “great honor.”

“Millennium Point is the West Midlands’ focal point for promoting STEM and is committed to providing the young people of the region with the opportunities to be the pioneers of the future,” she added.

During International Women’s Day in 2015, Meghan gave an impassioned speech at a UN Women conference in New York in which she discussed gender equality.

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Birmingham
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“I am proud to be a woman and a feminist, and this evening I am extremely proud to stand before you on this significant day, which serves as a reminder to all of us of how far we’ve come, but also amid celebration a reminder of the road ahead,” she said.

“It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision. May we empower each other to carry out such vision — because it isn’t enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe it. And it isn’t enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together. Starting now,” she concluded.

On Wednesday, during his visit to Silverstone race car track, Harry spoke to young female students about breaking into the engineering world.

“We want to get away from [the idea] that it’s all men in overalls and oily rags. Do you think think that girls want to be [in engineering] and there aren’t opportunities or it is not really considered by them?” he asked.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Birmingham, UK - 08 Mar 2018
Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Birmingham
Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

After Millennium Point, the couple visited a group of Coach Core apprentices as they took part in a training masterclass. The coaching apprenticeship program, which trains young people ages 16 – 24 with limited opportunities to become sports coaches and mentors within their communities, is one of the central programs of the Royal Foundation, that Meghan will join after she officially joins the royal family in a couple of months. Last week, she shared a forum with Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton as they spoke about their ambitions for the foundation.

Thursday’s trip was part of the couple’s tour of the U.K. before they wed on May 19 at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel.