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OpinionThe Sussexes

Meghan Markle was a natural in Nottingham and will be an asset to The Royal Family

Royal Central’s Editor-in-Chief, Charlie Proctor, was on the ground in Nottingham on Friday for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first official engagement together. He says that Ms Markle was a natural with the crowds, and will be a tremendous asset to The Royal Family going forwards.

It was a cold, dark morning in Nottingham on Friday in a city which is recognised around the world for the legend of Robin Hood. Never before has the city been at the centre of so much global media attention – it was almost impossible to walk the streets without bumping into a journalist or television presenter, from ITV This Morning’s Alison Hammond to Australia’s top television presenters. So what drew the world’s media circus to Nottingham? It was, of course, Meghan Markle, as she made her first official engagement alongside her fiancé following the news of her and Prince Harry’s engagement on Monday.

One man and his owl are interviewed by The Today Show in Australia (© Charlie Proctor)

There was much chatter in the press pen before the couple arrived in the city; would they stay together during the walkabout or split up to see as many people as possible? How would Meghan deal with the thousands of well-wishers and cameras flashes going off in her face? It was expected that millions of people would be watching the walkabout around the globe – it would be a defining moment and one that will be remembered for years to come so everything had to go according to plan!

Harry and Meghan arrived in Nottingham at around 11am. From my position, you couldn’t yet see them – but you could most certainly hear the crowds as they erupted into cheers and applause. It took around ten minutes for them to walk down to the entrance of the Nottingham Contemporary where I was positioned. For sections of the walkabout, Harry and Meghan stood together but split up frequently to try and speak to as many people as possible.

Despite being her first royal appearance, Meghan was not phased by the thousands of cameras (© Charlie Proctor)

Meghan was not phased by the cameras or the excitable people at all; it looked as if she had been undertaking royal duties for many years. The former actress also emulates a ‘down to earth’ styled approach to her walkabout, something The Royal Family desperately needs. Instead of sticking to mundane questions like other royals do, Meghan took a genuine interest in everybody who came out to see her.

© Charlie Proctor

Speaking to The Nottingham Post, one wellwisher explained how Meghan went out of her way to make her feel comfortable in the cold. She said: “[Harry] was going to shake my hand, but my hands were cold. Meghan reached into her pocket and gave me a heat pack.”

In return for her enthusiasm to the city, Meghan was swamped with presents and flowers.

Unfortunately for Meghan, she has not yet got a Private Secretary meaning there was nobody officially delegated to take hold of all the flowers and gifts presented to her. Luckily, Prince Harry’s Assistant Private Secretary, Heather Wong, discreetly stepped in and assisted the 36-year-old by carrying her handbag and some of the gifts being presented to the soon-to-be bride. Once she marries Harry in May, Meghan will get a Private Secretary of her own – maybe Ms Wong is in the running?

© Jackie Derbyshire

The walkabout lasted for around 20 minutes meaning hundreds of people got to meet and shake hands with Meghan, who will soon become a Duchess. Once she and Harry entered the Nottingham Contemporary, the location of their first engagement, the crowds did not thin. Thousands of people still lined the streets hoping to get a glimpse of the couple as they left the building and set off to their second engagement. After saying farewell to assembled dignitaries, Prince Harry got straight into the car. Meghan, on the other hand, went to speak to a few people in the crowd, thanking them for coming to see her.

© Charlie Proctor

This was the first time we saw Meghan Markle the royal as opposed to Meghan Markle the actress. Some might have expected there to be a few hiccups on the day – after all, how can one prepare themselves for the scenes that greeted them? But, the event went extremely smoothly and Meghan can only be described as a natural. Looking into the future, she will be a huge asset to The Royal Family and will be an extremely important player in how the future of the monarchy and the United Kingdom continues to develop and grow.