Harry & Meghan Take Cardiff

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s day started with, well, a delay. Thanks to an issue with the train, the couple was about an hour late when they finally arrived in Cardiff, Wales. Even that – or the slight rain that started – couldn’t put a damper on the crowds who assembled to greet them, many of them who started gathering as early as 6 am.

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I was excited to see this day get added to the calendar, but less because of a new engagement in and of itself and more to see one in Cardiff. It’s been years since I was there, but I remember it as a uniquely cool and beautiful city and Cardiff Castle is absolutely stunning. Indeed, Harry and Meghan started their itinerary there.

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But before going inside they spent some extra time at their walkabout, meeting members of the public and apologizing for keeping them waiting. Once again I was taken with Meghan’s enthusiasm as she met the crowds, kneeling to greet children, accepting hugs and even signing a girl’s notebook with a smiley face and heart.

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One rather interesting exchange that took place was when a young woman praised Meghan for work on behalf of women and she responded that Harry is a feminist as well. There you go – it’s on the record now. One quote that pretty much sums up the public’s embrace of Meghan came from an 18-year-old woman in the crowd, who told reporters:

“It’s fascinating that she’s not the typical person you’d expect to become a future duchess and it’s just really interesting to see the public reaction to her. I’m a big fan of the royals. Mainly the Duchess of Cambridge but I adore Prince Harry. I think Harry and Meghan represent a more modern society and it keeps some of the British traditions alive. I’ve got some roses for Meghan too.”

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Finally, at the entrance to the castle they were presented with a Love Spoon  engraved with Welsh dragons, daffodils and wedding bells, by a group of schoolchildren, a centuries-old Celtic tradition. Today’s engagements are in part built around the Welsh Cultural Festival. In addition to learning about the castle’s history, the two watched performances from poets, musicians and dancers participating in the festival.

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They also met with sportsmen and women to hear about their work to promote Welsh culture and had a chance to taste traditional Welsh cake.

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Next up was a stop at Star Hub, located in the Tremorfa neighborhood, where the couple met with StreetGames and USGirls to learn about how the programs support youth involvement with athletics. The use of sports to support the progress and success of young people, particularly those from low-income circumstances, has been a major priority of the Royal Family for generations now. Thankfully, reporters on hand captured some amazing video (thank you especially to Rebecca English).

Meghan playing Jenga:

Harry dancing:

And a big group hug for Meghan:

And finally this one, which is just adorable:

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I know we’re only three weeks into it, but so far this was my favorite engagement of the year. Harry and Meghan are just fun to watch and the newness of it all adds a little extra excitement. I was impressed by how seamlessly the Duchess of Cambridge took to engagements in the lead-up to her own wedding in 2011, and I’m similarly impressed by how Meghan – with markedly less exposure to what this is all about – has taken this all on with what appears to be genuine interest and enthusiasm.

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Fashion-wise, she knocked it out of the park. Her black coat, featuring a dramatic ribbon-esque belt, is by Stella McCartney (and gorgeous). Once inside, she removed it to reveal a grey checkered jacket by one of my favorite labels, Theory.

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This was paired with a pair of dark jeans from the Welsh brand, Huit Denim. (Today was a big day for them, I imagine!) Meghan’s boots, which I first thought were tall, are actually ankle boots. These are black velvet and by Tabitha Simmons. I particularly liked the mix of textures when Meghan had her coat on between its belt and these boots. And finally, her handbag is green leather and from Demellier London. In short, a solid assortment of British brands!

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Once again, Meghan opted to wear trousers instead of a skirt or dress and I’m a fan of the switch up. I wondered in the lead up to their engagement whether we’d see a dramatic change in her style (good God, the coatdresses), but thus far I don’t see a radical difference from Meghan the actress to Meghan the Duchess-to-be. She’s even kept her “messy” bun!

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We’ll wait and see when the next engagement for these two is scheduled, but in the meantime a new engagement for Kate has been added to the book on Wednesday, the 24th and of course the Cambridges’ tour of Stockholm and Oslo will take place the following week. (After months of back and forth on this tour re: its schedule and delay, I can’t believe it’s almost upon us). And while we wait for that, there are two historical posts scheduled for this weekend 😊

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