Receiving posies of flowers has long been a celebrated tradition for female members of the Royal Family. And it’s no different for the Duchess of Sussex, who has accepted hundreds since her first royal engagement in November 2017. But today, Meghan proved once again that she’s bringing her own magic touch to the tradition.
Accepting a pretty bouquet of roses from a young girl at Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square on Monday, January 14, the duchess carefully plucked one of the blooms from the arrangement and handed it back. “So you have a memory,” she smiled, passing the fragrant red rose to the girl. The moment made the local Kilgarth School student’s day.
The sweet gesture came at the start of a successful day trip to northern England for Meghan and Prince Harry, who attended four engagements in the city and delighted well-wishers at an early-morning walkabout that drew over a thousand locals, all eager to meet the down-to-earth couple.
“They are so good with people, both of them are,” said local politician Frank Field, who invited the royal pair to the Merseyside town to see the “good news stories” deserving of the royal spotlight.
The day also saw the couple even more candid about their impending parenthood. “It’s very exciting,” Harry told a local in the crowd after unveiling a plaque commemorating 100 years since the death of poet Wilfred Owen. And Meghan, who admitted pregnancy has “flown by,” dropped her biggest hint about her due date, admitting she was six and a half months pregnant to a young female fan.
During their second engagement, Meghan bonded with 23-weeks pregnant Angela Midgely. When gifting the mother-to-be with a Moses basket full to the brim with baby clothes and toiletries, Meghan laughed that “neither of us should be lifting right now.” In turn, both looked at each other and placed their hands on their bumps, smiling. “We don’t know [the sex of the baby],” Meghan added. “We’re keeping it a surprise—whichever way, we’ll be thrilled with the outcome.”
The couple met Midgely, 27, on a visit to officially open Birkenhead’s Number 7, a community cafe and grocery store selling discounted foods to help locals on lower income. The center also aims to become a hub for parents, with midwives referring people for support.
Manager Kay Penkethman greeted the couple at the previously-unannounced engagement (a source says information was held back back due to “security reasons”) and offered them hot drinks after their walkabout in the chilly winter weather. “Oh, I’d love a mint tea or something herbal, please,” Meghan said, smiling. She also accepted a small piece of the cafe’s lemon drizzle cake, which she said was “delicious.”
Harry sipped on a coffee before being introduced to Buddhist monk Kelsang Sonam, 69, and discussing his love of meditation. “It’s great,” Harry said of the practice, before being given a copy of Eight Steps to Happiness: The Buddhist Way of Loving Kindness. “I’ll be reading this,” he said, thanking Sonam.
Meghan had been planning to visit Number 7 since the fall of 2018, after conversations with Field about the center and its plans to provide mothers with discrete and accessible baby checkups had impressed the duchess. Marveling at the neatly-presented store shelves during a tour, Meghan said, “It just feels like an experience anyone else would have [at any other supermarket].” Harry called the initiative a “prototype for the world,” adding, “You can say it’s got the royal seal of approval now.”
Later, Meghan lit up the room with an unscripted speech at Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, a charity which currently helps over 6,000 vulnerable women access training courses and workshops, including support groups for domestic abuse victims, addiction, and mental health issues.
“I think we all know how important, for me, it is for women supporting each other,” remarked the duchess in a short speech to staff and beneficiaries. “As my husband may have mentioned earlier to some of you, it’s also key that men are there supporting behind the scenes, and very presently, as well, so I think I can very safely say on behalf of both of us that it’s an honor to be here.”
She added, “The courage that you have, the resilience that is being built with you being here, and just the journey that you’re gonna continue to take, you’re an inspiration to so many people, so thank you for having us.”
At their final engagement of the day, the couple won over the hearts of children at The Hive Youth Zone in Wirral—part of the OnSide Youth Zones initiative that Harry first introduced to Meghan during their first-ever engagement together, in Nottingham.
And here, Meghan displayed her magic touch once again. Lauren and Millie, both 13, met the couple at the center’s cosmetology studio, handing white roses to the duchess upon arrival. They were both surprised when she pulled two out, telling the teen girls, “Everything’s better when you share.” (While Harry didn’t have flowers to hand out, he joked that he’d like for the girls to share some nail art secrets so he could tell his wife).
Millie credits The Hive for keeping herself and friends out of trouble. “They asked us how was life before The Hive and how is life after,” she tells BAZAAR.com. “I was always getting into trouble out on the streets and now The Hive has opened, it’s somewhere to go and things to get involved with and friends you can do stuff with.”
While walking around the center, Meghan remarked, “It’s amazing to come and see how much impact projects like this have on a community.”
As the couple prepared to take a helicopter back to Kensington Palace (an hour late from spending extra time at each engagement), it wasn’t just the people they met who felt inspired. Field, who was with the couple for two of their engagements, tells BAZAAR.com he and the Duchess plan to work on future projects together.
“I’ve been briefing her on how we counter modern slavery, how we’re going to take that further,” he reveals. “The duchess said these are projects that we take, not just to the rest of the county, but to the world. So I’m going to talk to the duchess before she has her baby. I said, ‘Can I see you after [the baby is born],’ she said ‘No, before.’
“She’s definitely a very, very active member of the royal family,” Field added. “And so is he… What you see [with them] is this ability of taking the monarchy into this century.”
Source: Read Full Article