Such a surprise, in fact, that it caught me on a workday when I couldn’t dash off a quick post before, during or after this unannounced trip until now. So, here we are, I’ve pushed the historical post I had planned for today until tomorrow and now we can focus on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s visit to Belfast.
A rumor was circulating a few weeks ago that these two were due in Belfast right around the Queen’s birthday at the end of April, but the timing now makes a lot more sense. After all, the Queen’s birthday comes on the heels of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings, who knows whether Cambridge Baby #3 will make an appearance and Meghan will be down to the wire with wedding prep.
The couple’s first stop in the city was to Eikon Centre for an event marking the second year of “Amazing the Space” a youth-led peace-building initiative. Organized by Co-operation Ireland and launched by Harry.
Stunning a number of schoolchildren, who had no idea about their royal guests, the couple descended to greet the crowds who amassed (in record time!). Inside, they took in exhibits and performances put on by students focused on the role of arts in communities. According to KP, afterwards Harry and Meghan met with students, who shared their experiences in promoting peace in their neighborhoods.
From there it was on to The Crown Liquor Saloon, which is one of Belfast’s oldest buildings. National Trust staff was on hand to share its history and preservation work.
The couple actually ate lunch while there, which is rare – most members of the Royal Family avoid eating in public. Theories abound on the reason, but my guess is that it’s awkward to be photographed chewing and, quite frankly, they’re there to work. Always saying no also makes it less unfortunate when you want to say no, after all!
Anyway, Harry ordered sausage and champ, while Meghan ate Irish stew and was given a tutorial on the proper way to pull a Guinness. They also met with the bar’s staff and local musicians who perform there. As you can tell from the photographs, it’s absolutely beautiful.
Next up was Catalyst Inc, where Harry and Meghan visited Northern Ireland “next generation science park.” Frankly, I had no idea what that meant, but apparently it’s a platform for encouraging and facilitating the work of young entrepreneurs, so great.
When shown a baby bath with anti-slip designs, Meghan said that at some point she and Harry would need one…naturally, everyone (read: the Daily Mail) went a little crazy.
Last up was a stop by Titanic Belfast Maritime Museum, a popular tourist attraction in the city. The couple took in exhibits and interactive galleries of the ship.
As is usual with Harry and Meghan’s engagements these days, the real excitement came from the streets where the couple greeted well-wishers who had come out to see them.
For the day, Meghan wore a cream coat by Mackage, a white sweater by Victoria Becham, a teal-esque green skirt by Greta Constantine and heels by Jimmy Choo. I loved this look for Meghan – it was a nice change of pace from the trousers she’s been favoring for her engagements while still feeling very “her.”
In particular, I was happy to see Meghan wearing VB. It’s a brand Kate has toyed with over the years, but never actually publicly worn a piece of their apparel.
It’s unclear when we’ll next see these two out and about, but the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are due to open the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 10 days and the Heads of Government meetings kick off on April 16. My guess is we’ll get at least one more engagement before then, but I’ll update here when we know more.