For their first engagement together in 2019, Prince Harry and his pregnant wife, Duchess Meghan of Sussex, visited community-service organizations and greeted excited fans on walkabout on Monday in the northwest English county of Merseyside, an area that that birthed the Beatles and “The Merseyside Sound.”
The royal couple, due to become first-time parents in the spring, arrived in Birkenhead, Merseyside (meaning on the banks of the Mersey River), to the usual full-throttle welcome they have come to expect at their public appearances.
Harry and Meghan began their day outside Birkenhead’s town hall, where they viewed a new sculpture marking the 100th anniversary of the death of the famous Birkenheadwar poet Wilfred Owen. The bronze statue, named after one of Owen’s poems, “Futility,” shows an exhausted World War I soldier.
Meghan, 37, looked dazzling as usual, dressed in a purple dress from Babaton by Aritizia, a cheery red coat from Sentaler and matching red Stuart Weitzman pumps.
The purpose of their four-stop visit to the northwest of England, home of Liverpool, was in keeping with Harry and Meghan’s developing royal patronage and charity interests: They’ll be meeting with local social-service and community organizations, Kensington Palace said.
Meghan’s pregnancy has not slowed her down: She has two other appearances scheduled this week, including a visit Wednesday to an animal welfare charity for which she has just become royal patron.
The couple will also attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem” in support of Harry’s African children’s charity, Sentebale, at London’s Royal Albert Hall in the evening.
Last week, Meghan visited Smart Works, one of her new royal patronage organizations, which gathers donations of women’s work clothes and helps women search and dress for jobs.
Following visit to the statue, Harry and Meghan met with local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, of which Owen was a member, and which played a part in the creation of the tribute.
Then they plunged into a walkabout in Hamilton Square, where throngs of locals were gathered to see them.
Their plans for the day laso include a stop to officially open a new discount supermarket and community café set up by Feeding Birkenhead, a coalition of churches, food banks and community groups to help reduce hunger in Birkenhead.
They are also scheduled to visit Tomorrow’s Women Wirral (Wirral is the name for the local peninsula region, meaning “myrtle corner” in Old English).
Initially established in 2011 to support women released from prison, Tomorrow’s Women now offers a range of training courses and workshops for more than 6,000 local women in vulnerable circumstances due to mental health issues, domestic abuse and addiction, the palace said.
They’re scheduled to drop in at the on-site charity shop, café and Inspiration Hall.
Their last visit will be at the Hive Wirral Youth Zone, created by the charity OnSide Youth Zones, where they will meet young people taking part in activities and workshops.
And before they leave, they’ll unveil the usual royal plaque to mark their visit.