Prince Harry, Meghan Markle attend first royal outing as newly-engaged couple on World AIDS Day
WATCH Prince Harry, Meghan Markle attend first royal outing as newly-engaged couple on World AIDS Day
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were greeted with cheers today as they stepped out together to mark World AIDS Day in their first official event as a newly-engaged couple.
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Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, visited a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair in Nottingham. The couple spent time shaking hands with people in the crowd, who shouted Harry's and Markle's names and waved both U.S. and U.K. flags.
Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle arrive in Nottingham for their first official visit together since announcing their engagement. pic.twitter.com/iXXrJEumxk
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) December 1, 2017
The couple will meet with representatives from local charities and organizations that support people living with HIV/AIDS and work to end the stigma associated with the disease.
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Today’s appearance marks the first time Markle, an American actress, has accompanied Harry on an official royal engagement in the U.K.
Terrence Higgins Trust, the U.K.'s leading HIV and sexual health charity, is part of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Markle will become a patron of the Royal Foundation, which serves as the main vehicle for their philanthropic activities, after her May wedding to Harry.
Harry has followed in the footsteps of his mother, the late Princess Diana, in working to end the stigma around HIV/AIDS. Diana was also a supporter of Terrence Higgins Trust and Harry and his brother, Prince William, have carried on Diana's support.
Harry's charity, Sentebale, helps vulnerable children in southern Africa struggling with HIV/AIDS. He has campaigned tirelessly for a greater understanding of and funding for the disease.
In October, Harry accepted a posthumous award for his mother's groundbreaking work raising HIV/AIDS awareness, calling himself “incredibly proud of her work.”
In a touching tribute to Diana, Harry chose to share with Markle a poignant reminder of his mother’s work at their very first event meeting the British public.
Later today, Harry and Markle plan to visit a school in Nottingham. They will meet with staff and mentors of Full Effect, a program supported by the Royal Foundation that provides mentorships and training to steer kids away from youth violence and crime.
In typical British fashion, Markle will join Harry for her first royal walkabout greeting the people of Nottingham with Harry and getting used to a role that will become a part of her life when she joins the royal family.
"Prince Harry has spent a significant amount of private and public time in the city and His Royal Highness is looking forward to introducing Ms Markle to a community that has become very special to him," Kensington Palace said in a statement prior to today's events.
Markle, who recently moved to the U.K., said Monday in the pair's first sit-down interview as an engaged couple that she is looking forward to this "new chapter" in her life, particularly the charitable work.
"We realized once you have access and a voice that people are willing to listen to, with that comes a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously," she told the BBC. "And now being boots on the ground in the U.K., I'm excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, [and learn about the] smaller organizations who are working on the same causes that I've always been passionate about under this umbrella."
Harry and Markle will wed in May at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Kensington Palace announced Tuesday that Markle intends to become a U.K. citizen and retain her U.S. citizenship during the immigration process, which will take several years.