Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped out in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital city for a day greeting crowds, petting ponies, meeting charities, and visiting royal residences past and present
During today’s visit, Harry and Meghan will have the opportunity to meet members of the public, learn more about organizations that work in the local community and nationwide, and celebrate youth in the Scottish Year of Young People 2018. First stop for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the Esplanade in front of the iconic Edinburgh Castle.
More than 2,000 well-wishers had braved the conditions to stake the best place to spot Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Edinburgh despite the cold and wet weather.
One amorous male well-wisher gave Ms Markle a bunch of roses and told her ‘Don’t marry Harry, marry me’ as she and Harry greeted crowds on the castle’s esplanade.
Ryan Davey, 32, had his six-year-old daughter Hannah perched on his shoulders so she could get a better look at the couple as they passed by. He said: ‘We’ve come up from Durham to see them, this is the nearest place for us but it’s been worth it.’
Meghan Markle was her element in Edinburg today
Meghan also spoke with a couple from the Philippines, who were celebrating their anniversary. After congratulating them, Meghan used the Filipino phrase ‘salamat po’, which means ‘thank you’ in Tagalog. The delighted lady can then be heard on camera exclaiming, “Oh my goodness, so sweet!” as Meghan moves on to speak to the next group of people.
Watch the clip below
Meghan and Harry also spoke about their upcoming wedding plans Tom Martin and his wife. Tom later revealed to HelloMagazine that: “We asked them what they were doing for their stag and hen dos. Meghan said, ‘I’m not sure – it’s sorted but it will be fun.’ Harry said he didn’t know.”
Francesca added: “They seem really nice, happy and relaxed. She seemed to take it all in her stride.” Tom noted: “She was introducing herself with ‘Hi, I’m Meghan’ as if no-one knew who she was.”
Meghan was also heard telling members of the crowd it’s her first visit to Scotland and that she thinks Edinburgh is “gorgeous”.
Upon Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s arrival at the Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle, the couple was officially welcomed to the city by the Royal Marines Scotland Band.
Prince Harry took on the role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Marines in December 2017, following the retirement of his grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh. Harry was the fifth member of the House of Windsor to hold the position.
Outside Edinburg Castle, Meghan and Harry also met Cruachan IV, the regimental mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Shetland pony Cruachan IV has its own Twitter account, and ‘tweeted’ today: ‘Loved it, couldn’t believe all these people came to see me! But was lovely to meet His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms Markle.’
When someone tweeted the account saying there was a ‘shovel called into action’ after he got ‘stage fright’, the pony responded: ‘If you could clean that up for me that would be great. I was too busy seeing my adoring public. Sorry, sir.’
And when it was put to the account that the pony was ‘having a wee swipe of the Prince’s hand’, it replied: ‘The Prince was teasing me, sir.’ Asked if he bit Harry, it replied: ‘Not at all, I was greeting Prince Harry.’
Edinburg Castle was once the residence of Scottish monarchs. Today it serves mostly as a museum. It stands 443 feet (135 metres) above sea level and overlooks the city of Edinburgh from a volcanic crag called Castle Rock.
Malcolm III Canmore (reigned 1058–93) was the first king of Scotland who is known to have made his residence on Castle Rock. Queen Margaret, his wife, died in the castle in 1093. She was later canonized as St. Margaret of Scotland, and is remembered in St. Margaret’s Chapel, which was built between about 1130 and 1140 on the highest point of the rock and is the oldest surviving building on the castle grounds.
The castle has been captured by English invaders twice between 1296 and 1341. The scots managed to retake it.
More info: “David’s Tower, some 100 feet (30 metres) in height, was built to honour King David II, who died in the castle in 1371, but was substantially destroyed in a siege 200 years later. A giant cannon named Mons Meg was installed in 1457 and can still be seen. The Great Hall, which also survives, was completed by James IV in 1511. In an adjacent building called the Royal Palace is the room where James VI, the future King James I of England, was born in 1566. Following the destructive siege of 1571–73, the castle’s defenses were strengthened with the construction of the Half-Moon Battery (cannon emplacement) and the Portcullis Gate. The last monarch to stay overnight in Edinburgh Castle was Charles I, in 1633.”
Inside the castle, Meghan and Harry joined Sergeant Dave Beveridge, District Gunner, Royal Artillery for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun.
They were given ear defenders before standing behind the gun.
First they had what one royal aide described as a ‘five minute warm up’ in the Governor’s house before watching the firing of the gun. The loved-up couple adorably held hands as they strolled onto the ramparts to watch the 105 millimetre L118 Light Gun go off.
After a briefing from Sergeant Dave Beveridge, of the Royal Artillery, who fires it daily from Tuesday to Saturday, they put in ear defenders and waited for the blank to send a powerful explosion ringing out.
Sergeant Beveridge then pulled the still smoking ‘cartridge case’ – which had been packed with six ounces of gun powder from the chamber.
He said: ‘I gave Prince Harry and Meghan a very brief history of the 1 o’clock gun and why it was still firing. Harry asked me about my history, so I told him I did 24 years in the army and then I got this job.
‘He asked about the gun and where it’s been – I was very conscious of the time though because the gun still does have to go off at 1pm. I was worried I’d have to stop talking.’
The gun’s firing dates back to 1861 when businessman John Hewitt brought the idea to Edinburgh from Paris, where ships set their maritime clocks by the One o’Clock Gun. The gun is still fired every day at 1 pm, except on Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day.
The original gun was a 64-pounder. Since 2001, a 105mm field gun has instead been fired from the Mills Mount Battery.
Meghan and Harry before briefly waved to the crowds as they departed the castle for their next destination.
Meghan Markle and Harry then traveled to the New Town in Edinburgh to visit Social Bite.
The charity was founded in August 2012 by Josh Littlejohn MBE and Alice Thompson and began life as a small cafe in Edinburgh
Today, the café distributes more than 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to homeless people across Scotland each year, as well as employing staff who have experienced homelessness themselves
The founders became involved in the homelessness issue when a young homeless man named Peter came into the cafe asking for a job.
Leonardo DiCaprio stopped for lunch at the cafe in November 2016 while George Clooney paid a visit in 2015. The Duchess of Cornwall and George Clooney have been to Social Bite’s Rose Street branch.
During their visit, Meghan and Harry heard from staff about their experiences, and how Social Bite has helped them to overcome homelessness.
At one point, Meghan spoke of her own experience working with homeless people at a soup kitchen in Los Angeles during her high school years. And in an emotional moment, Social Bite’s co-founder Alice Thompson told Meghan how inspired she was by the speech she gave to U.N. Women about female empowerment years ago. Meghan was so moved by her comments that her eyes welled up and she gave Thompson a hug in the middle of the café.
Harry was so inspired by the work Social Bite is doing that he asked: “When are you bringing it down south? If you’ve proved it’s a movement that works, it needs to be everywhere.”
Before leaving, Meghan and Harry also toured the kitchen
Meghan and Harry concluded the day by attending a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate youth achievements, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.
Ahead of their arrival, Prince Harry’s royal standard was raised at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Meghan and Harry were taken around by nine-year-old Ben Mason and the First Minister’s mentee Charlotte Liddell.
The Year of Young People 2018 “aims to inspire Scotland through its young people by celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities, and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally, and on the international stage.”
More than 50 young people aged 8 to 26 years, involved in the Scottish Government’s themed-year programme, were invited to meet Meghan and Harry – among them young people playing an important role in influencing policy and decision making across the six themes for the Year – education, health and wellbeing, enterprise and regeneration, culture, participation and equality and discrimination.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and Maree Todd, Minister for Early Years and Year of Young People 2018 also attended.
Louise Macdonald OBE, Chief Executive of Young Scot said,
“The royal reception was absolutely packed with inspirational young people. They were amazing and will have a left a lasting impression on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It’s brilliant that the future royal couple had the opportunity to meet just some of the young people who are working hard to make the Year of Young People 2018 really special.
The guests included Year of Young People 2018 Ambassadors, Communic18 – the co-design champions for the Year, The sportscotland Young People’s sport panel, Sunday Mail Young Scot Award winners and many others. The young people talked about a wide range of issues and projects that will have amazed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and I’m sure young people would love to see them in Scotland again this year.”
The event took place at the Holyroodhouse palace in Edinburg – which is the official home of The Queen in Scotland. This is the place where Her Majesty the Queen stays whenever she is in Scotland. The Palace of Holyroodhouse has been a palace since the 16th Century, but it has been in existence since the 12th century.
Kensington Palace shared the following tweet before Meghan and Harry departed the event
Meghan Markle was dressed to impress today in Edinburgh looking very Scottish in Burberry’s stylish Double-breasted tartan wool in a black watch plaid print, a pattern famously synonymous with Scotland. The fact that the coat from one of Britain’s most iconic designers made it even more fitting for the occasion.
Underneath, Meghan wore Veronica Beard Adley Trousers
Meghan carried the East/West Mini Bag in bottle green by Strathberry which is a Scottish brand based in Edinburgh.
An amazing Scottish day out for Meghan Markle in Edinburgh – very sure Harry has something amazing planned for Valentine’s Day tomorrow!
In other news, The Mirror reported yesterday that Meghan has been carrying out a series of under the radar charity visits around the UK:
Meghan Markle has visited the Grenfell Tower site alone to comfort victims of the inferno.
In an echo of Princess Diana’s charity work, she made the trips in secret. One resident said: “It means so much.”
Prince Harry ’s fiancee has twice been to comfort those affected by the inferno that left 71 people dead and a community shattered. The actress appeared at the Al Manaar community mosque, which lies in the shadow of the charred shell of Grenfell Tower at North Kensington, West London.
It is understood the US actress arrived without Harry but was flanked by a royal protection officer and one of the prince’s aides.
A leading Grenfell community member said: “Meghan’s visits mean so much to us. She has a special place in our hearts.”
A royal source added: “Ms Markle has regularly been making private visits to organisations as she gets to know the charity sector.”