Nottingham shares Harry and Meghan's 'fairytale' moment

By Samantha Fisher
BBC News

image captionHundreds of people waited for a chance to greet the royal couple and take a photo

Babies waved flags, workers leaned out of windows and people fought to get a good spot to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their first official outing together.

As the excitement built in freezing cold Nottingham, the crowds grew with those eagerly awaiting the royal couple.

When the pair arrived at 11:00 GMT, they were met by cheers and applause.

Well-wishers shouted their congratulations and handed flowers and cards to the prince and his bride-to-be as they made their way along the street.

image sourceGetty Images
image captionCrowds waited patiently to see the couple along with the world's media

Colleen Cash, 62, of Hucknall, was there with her 11-year-old niece Kathleen Connors and were chuffed when Ms Markle stopped to shake both of their hands.

"I cannot believe we got that close. It is an historic occasion. It is not often you get to see the Royal Family, let alone touch those about to get married," said Ms Cash.

image captionColleen Cash and her niece Kathleen Connors said they cannot believe they got to touch Meghan

She added it was lovely to see how affectionate the couple were with each other.

"Meghan was touching Harry's arm and looking for where he was, you don't often see that," she said.

image captionMichael Thorpe said the engagement was a wonderful thing

Michael Thorpe, 60, from the Silverdale area of the city, said he felt uplifted after seeing the couple.

"I caught a glimpse of Meghan getting into the car - it was definitely worth coming."

Andrew Stretton, 53, from Mapperley Top, said "it was like a football scrum" in the crowds when the couple arrived.

"People were barging in front, but there was a real buzz."

image captionMembers of the public held placards and gave cards to congratulate Harry and Meghan

Michelle Hart, a solicitor from Sherwood, came to see the happy couple with her son Jonah, as well as with a friend and her two children.

The 39-year-old said: "We made placards with the children and one was spotted by of of the organisers who put it in the couple's car.

"We were so excited."

image captionA pair of Santa gloves were remarked upon by the couple

The prince made Julie Ball's day when he stopped to comment on her Santa Claus knitwear.

"He said 'great gloves' and pulled one down over my fingers," she said. "I said 'they're from Primark for £3'."

Ms Ball added: "When Meghan walked past she said the same thing. She said, 'We have the same taste'.

"She is so nice. She is beautiful."

Ms Markle was the focus of attention, with several people telling her how delighted they were by the engagement.

image captionThree students from the US said the visit was a 'fairytale'

Three students from the United States said they wanted to be part of the couple's "fairytale".

Abby Gentile, from Chicago; Mandy Koehler, from Nebraska; and Shannon Jauvequi, from California, who are studying in Nottingham, said they could not believe their luck when they found out the pair was coming to the city.

"We've never seen a prince," an excited Ms Koehler said. "It's like a only happens once, so it is great timing for us."

image sourcePA
image captionIt was Meghan's first taste of what it means to be a British royal
image captionJayd Kilarski, left, and her friend Kathryn Hague were excited to see Meghan's engagement ring

Some people had waited for hours in the icy weather - Jayd Kilarski, for one, who arrived at 07:30 GMT from Long Eaton.

"When I heard they were coming I thought this is the most exciting thing ever," she said.

"It's their first royal engagement together and they're coming to Notts. I could not really miss that.

"I think it's really good for Nottingham and Harry has made a point of saying he loves [it here].

"It is always a nice atmosphere when the royals come. It brings us together.

"I want to see what shoes Meghan is wearing and her ring."

However, she added with optimism: "I am still hoping Harry will see me and fall madly in love with me."

image sourceReuters
image captionPrince Harry has visited Nottingham on a number of occasions

But not everyone was entirely happy. Helen Goddard, 55, from Nottingham city centre, said: "There are too many people and it is freezing."

Clotilde Dubos, 25, a restaurant supervisor at a nearby hotel, was busy serving the hordes hot drinks, sandwiches and food.

She said: "I think it is a big day for local business and the city. Obviously the Royal Family attract tourists.

"I think it's wonderful for Nottingham. There is a great atmosphere. I think it will make it known as a lovers' city."

image captionClotilde Dubos said she thought the royal couple's visit to Nottingham would turn it into a "lovers' city"

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