Stepping out in very snowy weather today for a joint royal visit in Bristol, Meghan and Harry looked elated as they met with fans outside of the first stop of the day; Old Vic Theater.
Meghan and Harry had planned to come to Bristol by helicopter but the visibility was too bad so they got the train. It is Meghan’s third royal engagement in just three days – yesterday she visited The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).
Despite the freezing temperatures and the snowy weather, many fans had waited patiently for the couple to arrive, and they weren’t disappointed. Instead of rushing inside to escape the snow, Meghan and Harry generously spoke to people throughout the crowd in Bristol and seemed happy to make conversation with everyone who had braved the cold.
Meghan thanked the crowd for waiting for them in this snowy Bristol weather and asked people to stay warm in the snowy weather. Meghan also joked: ‘Sorry my hand is cold!’ to one onlooker, while adding: ‘Nice to meet you. Thank you for staying outside in this weather.” Adding: “I hope everyone gets a nice cup of tea after this,”
Chatting to a group of children from the Abbeywood Tots Nursery, one of the children asked Meghan, “where’s Harry,” so she called him over to join her. Harry then asked them: ‘Are you nice and warm in here?’ He then laughed mischievously: ‘You know you guys can run anywhere you want!’
Watch the sweet meeting here:
Nursery worker India Leachman, 25, told reporters, “The children beckoned them over, like, ‘We’re excited to see you,’ waving their flags. And as soon as they came over, they were interested in their biscuits.”
“They were so excited to see – we’ve been saying, the Prince and Princess, it’s just easier to explain it to them,” Leachman explained. “They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re coming, they’re coming,’ and then I gave them biscuits and they had a little giggle party to themselves, so [Harry and Meghan] just found that so funny.”
Meghan also greeted 19-year-old Hayley Jones from Australia who is an exchange student doing literature and politics at Bristol University. Hayley has been a fan of Meghan since her pre-royalty days.
After meeting Meghan, Hayley said “It was very exciting,” “I had followed her on The Tig. It was such a beautiful inspirational blog. I thought it was incredible and I wanted to let her know that it really impacted me. She said it was a passion project that she loved.She’s such a beautiful soul.”
Meghan was also heard explaining that she and Harry had got the train down to Bristol today, adding: ‘It was a few minutes late but we tried our best to get down here fast.’ A fan also congratulated Meghan on her pregnancy, and Meghan replied: ‘Oh thank you’, before chatting about yoga with her and saying: ‘What kind of yoga do you do? It works for the mind and body, it’s so key. A nice practice would be so fantastic right now.’
In a very touching video clip shared from the day, we see Harry speak to a member of the crowd who showed him a picture of his mother from 25-years-ago. “Visibly touched, the Duke tells her to look after the photograph”. Harry told the woman that he recognized the photo, which had been taken on a visit to Thornbury in Bristol.
Meghan and Harry then went inside the 18th century Bristol Old Vic theater. The theater was built in 1766 as a center for people of Bristol to congregate and watch entertainment. The theater is the oldest continuously working theatre in England.
The theatre has a unique place in British theatre history, having nurtured the talents of countless famous actors from Daniel Day-Lewis and Greta Scacchi to Peter O’Toole and Jeremy Irons.
Stirling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins led the theatre’s redesign, which includes a full-height timber and glass-fronted foyer that reveals the original auditorium facade to the street for the first time. The internal layout has been transformed, with the restoration of the Georgian Coopers’ Hall, a new studio theatre created in the old barrel vaults and mezzanine galleries. The project is the second stage of a 10-year, £26 million program to completely overhaul and safeguard the future of the theatre
Meghan and Harry were greeted by Executive Director Sally Cordwell who was accompanied by her daughter Ocean, because the nursery was closed due to the snowy weather. The three-year-old Ocean was introduced as “Ballerina”. Meghan asked her: “Is Ballerina your real name? Oh, my hands are cold thank you for warming them up. Ballerina Ocean, I think you’re going to be everyone’s favorite person today.”
Meghan and Harry were given a tour of the recently renovated theater and were told about its history and links to the local community.
Meghan and Harry also watched the Young Company performing a song from their production ‘Hercules’. Kensington Palace reported that the Young Company consists of 350 young people aged 5-25 who attend weekly drama sessions and create three productions each year.
They also watched a workshop attended by local school children as part of the theater’s community outreach program. Meghan told them: “It’s good that you have this. And what a beautiful space as well, it’s really special. There’s so much of the emphasis in after-school clubs on the sport. Channeling the energy, you have into the creative arts and theatre and all of that is equally as important. Sport isn’t for everyone, just as theatre isn’t for everyone. You can know that there’s a place where you can find community and sort of exploring self-discovery and other things you might be thinking about.”
Harry added of their interest in drama, “It’s more than a hobby, isn’t it? It runs in your blood.”
Meghan and Harry unveiled a plaque
Below, is a video from the visit
Before departing the building, Harry ran back to collect some flowers for Meghan.
For their next stop, Meghan and Harry secretly made a stop at One25 Charity, which helps women trapped in street sex work, and those struggling with addiction, poverty, and violence.
The visit was kept under wraps until after Meghan and Harry’s visit, in order to ‘protect Bristol’s most vulnerable women’, the charity said. While there, Meghan and Harry met with volunteers, coordinators, and execs from the organization
One25 started in May 1995 as a result of concerns from local agencies and churches about the health and wellbeing of female street sex workers in Bristol. The charity specializes in supporting women who want to break free from street sex work because they often have ‘complex, intertwined needs including addiction, homelessness, poverty, violence, ill-health, offending and bad or broken relationships’. The charity says most of the women on the streets are ‘homeless, acutely malnourished and addicted to drugs and/or alcohol’.
One25 runs a mobile van program five nights a week, where volunteers hand out bags of food, clothing, first aid, condoms, safety alarms, and more to women trapped in sex work. Meghan and Harry were then shown how the food bags were prepared in the charity’s kitchen. Meghan then came up with a brilliant idea of leaving messages of support for the sex workers, by writing words on a banana. “Oh actually do you have a Sharpie marker? I have an idea,” Meghan said. “I saw this project this woman had started somewhere in the States on a school lunch program. On each of the bananas, she wrote an affirmation, to make the kids feel really, like, empowered. It was the most incredible idea – this small gesture.”
Meghan wrote a series of messages on the bananas which would be included in the food bags and sent out in the charity’s outreach van. Picking up a marker, she said: “I am in charge of the banana messaging!” as she proceeded to write on some of the bananas: “You are strong”, “You are loved”, “You are brave” and “You are special”. The Duchess helped pack food and warm clothing that will be distributed later on Friday evening.
Watch the moment below
A charity volunteer who was a former sex worker, Sam, later said: “I can imagine being on the van, and ‘Meghan wrote this thing, and what?’ I think they might not eat it. I think that banana would be at home until it is rotten. Because I would do the same. It sounds really cheesy, but little things like that when you are out – especially tonight, we can see the weather – just to get that little thing… Meghan took her time out to write that one. It’s lush.”
Sam added: “It is amazing that they chose to come here. It is heartwarming, and makes you think that these women are not forgotten and not cared about.” She spoke about how the charity helped her in the past, saying: “I was a service user, and One25 was there for me when I had no-one. They helped me keep my children, helped me keep a house. They helped me move on, and now I am trying to do the same for other women.” The charity helps 150 women still trapped on Bristol’s streets.
A group photo was taken
Below is a nice video from the visit:
Next – Meghan and Harry visited the Empire Fighting Chance charity – which aims to fight the impact of poverty and deprivation on young people’s lives through boxing.
Meghan and Harry were met by local schoolchildren as well as staff, trustees, and Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees
During their visit, Harry met fifteen-year-old Lestyn Jones who admitted being struggling with the loss of his father. Harry reportedly cleared the room to speak to the boy one-on-one and shared his own experiences of losing a parent. “The same thing happened to me,” he reportedly said during their intimate, 10-minute conversation.
Empire Fighting Chance uses boxing to help troubled young people drift into a life of unemployment or crime. The charity is based at a boxing club that trains amateurs and has produced professionals including former IBF bantamweight world champion Lee Haskins and ex-IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby.
The charity was established in 2006 by Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar after they spotted two youths dealing drugs outside their boxing club in the nearby neighborhood of St Paul’s and invited them into the box to get them out of trouble. Within six weeks they had 50 kids coming in twice a week. Today, they run programs for more than 350 young men and women per week combining non-contact boxing with therapy, numeracy classes, and other courses designed to instill discipline, self-control, and respect while building self-confidence and improving physical and mental health
During the visit Meghan asked a group of girls: “Do you feel strong and confident?” and to that, they replied a resounding “yes”. Meghan then added: “You can apply the same sentiment to everything in life – just breaking it down and then you realize that you can do everything, it doesn’t seem so daunting.”‘
For today’s engagement days, Meghan wore a William Vintage Black 1960’S Cashmere Coat With Scarf
Underneath, Meghan wore the Oscar de la Renta Enchanted Forest Silk-Chiffon dress.
Meghan styled it with green Sarah Flint Marina Boots.
She accessorized with her Pippa Small Herkimer diamond studs.