Prince Harry today arrived with Meghan Markle in Edinburgh for a royal walkabout as the couple began their official visit to Scotland.
Meghan, who wore a £2,000 Burberry tartan coat with trousers by Veronica Beard, was handed an early Valentine’s Day gift on a love heart from a young admirer as the couple delighted royal fans.
Hundreds of well-wishers had braved the conditions to stake the best place to spot the royal couple on the esplanade outside Edinburgh Castle this morning, despite the cold and wet weather.
With the centuries-old fortress as a backdrop the couple began shaking hands, saying hello and thanking the well-wishers for coming to see them. Harry and Meghan were also both given gifts by young fans.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile as they meet well-wishers outside Edinburgh Castle on their visit to Scotland today
Harry and Meghan meet Cruachan IV, the regimental mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, outside Edinburgh Castle
Meghan and Harry were greeted by Frank Ross, Edinburgh’s Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost, who represented the city
Harry and Meghan arrive at Edinburgh Castle (left) as she puts her hand on her fiance’s back as they speak to the crowds
Harry and Meghan smile as they arrive at Edinburgh Castle at lunchtime today for their first official joint visit to Scotland
Meghan looks at the gifts she has been given by admirers during the walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today
Meghan stretches out her hand to meet that of a young boy as she meets people outside Edinburgh Castle
Harry holds his jacket as he meets well-wishers (left) and puts both thumbs up to a royal fan (right)
Meghan puts her hand on Harry’s back as they meet members of the crowd after arriving for a visit to Edinburgh today
Sarah Coronado, 28, a masters student from Mexico studying at Edinburgh University, was one of the first well-wishers to arrive at the castle’s esplanade.
She said: ‘Seeing the couple is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We don’t have these visits in Mexico or my hometown of Monterey.
‘They are also the hot couple of the moment because of their marriage coming up. I also think Meghan is a role model, she’s not just a pretty face. I think she’s going to change the face of the monarchy.’
Harry and his bride-to-be are meeting well-wishers before heading inside the historic fortress to watch as the One O’clock Gun is fired, a tradition started in 1861 to mark time for ships in the Firth of Forth.
Harry and Meghan appeared to be delighted to meet Cruachan IV – and its very impressive hair – outside Edinburgh Castle
Harry and Meghan smile next to Cruachan IV as they make their first visit to the Scottish capital together today
Harry and Meghan meet the pony as they go on a walkabout outside Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital today
Meghan looks emotional as she meets royal well-wishers outside Edinburgh Castle with Harry today
Meghan holds a small cuddly toy after being presented with it in Edinburgh (left) and shakes the hand of a well-wisher (right)
Meghan and Harry walk along next to Frank Ross, Edinburgh’s Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost, in the city today
Ashley Torres, 25, a law student at Edinburgh University, had brought a bunch of tulips for the couple.
She said: ‘I bought these last night, I don’t mind if Meghan or Harry takes them. It’s such a cute love story … being set up by mutual friends. And it will be nice to see an American part of the British monarchy.’
Friends Maggie Binnie, 29 and Alice McCourt, 23, both Scottish students, had staked a place on the esplanade against the crash barriers and waved Union flags featuring a picture of the prince and his fiancee.
Ms Binnie said: ‘I really do admire Meghan, she’s got a good head on her shoulders and I also admire Harry for the mental health work he does and his work with military veterans.’
Una Mallon, a mother of four, 47, from Belfast, was excited as she tried to catch a glimpse of the couple. She said: ‘We are expecting to see Meghan and Harry, we are so excited.
Harry gets out of his car for a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today, for the royal couple’s visit to Scotland
Harry speaks to a royal fan outside Edinburgh Castle and hands her back her Scottish flag (right)
Harry looks at a gift next to a young well-wisher outside Edinburgh Castle as the couple visit the Scottish capital today
Harry brings a smile to the face of his young well-wisher as the couple meet the people of Edinburgh outside the castle today
Meghan is handed a gift by an admirer during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today
The couple’s first stop first stop is at the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle today, where they are being welcomed
Harry holds a CD of harp music which he was given during the walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle today
Two young women excitedly respond as Meghan talks to them outside Edinburgh Castle with Harry today
Meghan shakes the hand of a young admirer as she holds roses during a walkabout on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade today
‘My prediction is that Meghan is going to be our new Diana. A wee touch of Meghan adds a bit of sparkle. She’s already working behind the scenes as she’s doing secret visits.
‘She is passionate about her causes and I think Harry and her are going to be the perfect team. I always have a soft spot for Kate and William but I think together the boys are doing a great job and their partners show great support.
‘We are big fans of the Royal Family. We are visiting Edinburgh for the half term and we are actually considering moving to Edinburgh soon.’
Kim Cameron, 55, from Danderhall, Midlothian, added: ‘I just want to see them because I love the Royal Family. I want to show them love and support. Harry is our favourite, he seems more down to earth.
‘He could be your best friend, just the kind of guy you want to have a beer with. Both of them are like that. They seem happy and they try to be as normal as possible. It’s just very exciting and I love the energy too.’
Excited crowds gather this morning ahead of the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh Castle
A view of the crowds who have gathered for the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh Castle today
Despite cold and wet weather, and with the arrival some time away, royal fans braved the conditions to stake the best place
Well-wishers Aoife Mallon, 13, Sarah Mallon, 10 and Grace Mallon, 14, wait to see Harry and Meghan at Edinburgh Castle today
Well-wishers have been lining up to spot the couple on the esplanade outside Edinburgh Castle today
Crowds gathered in Edinburgh today for Harry and Markle’s first joint official visit to Scotland
Some people in Edinburgh hold flags as they wait for the royal couple to arrive in the city this morning
Three women wait to see Harry and Meghan at Edinburgh Castle today for the couple’s first official joint visit to Scotland
Royal fans await the arrival of Harry and Meghan outside Edinburgh Castle as the couple make their first joint visit to Scotland
Royal fans laugh as they wait for Harry and Meghan to arrive at Edinburgh Castle today for their hotly-anticipated visit
Harry and his bride-to-be will go on a walkabout, meeting well-wishers before heading inside the historic fortress
The trip to Scotland is the fourth public appearance Meghan and Harry have made together and follows successful visits to Nottingham, Brixton in south London and Cardiff in the months that followed their engagement announcement in November.
Also on the esplanade will be the Royal Marines Band Scotland who will play for Meghan, the former Suits actress, and the Prince who became Captain General of the Royal Marines in December 2017.
Kensington Palace had said: ‘Throughout the day Prince Harry and Ms Markle will have the opportunity to meet members of the public, learn more about organisations that work in the local community and nationwide, and celebrate youth in the Scottish Year of Young People 2018.’
Inside the castle at the historic Edinburgh Garrison, which looks out across the city, the couple will watch as the One o’clock Gun is fired, a tradition started in 1861 to mark time for ships in the Firth of Forth.
Crowds line the barriers as they gather ahead of the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh Castle today
The trip to Scotland will be the fourth public appearance Meghan and Harry have made together
Crowds hold flags with a picture of the couple ahead of the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh Castle today
Two young women await with anticipation for the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh Castle today
Three young royal fans await the arrival of Harry and Meghan outside Edinburgh Castle this morning
Well-wishers wait to see Harry and Meghan at Edinburgh Castle for their first official joint visit to Scotland today
Hannah Davey, six, gets a good vantage point as she joins crowds ahead of the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh today
The couple’s first stop is at the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle today, where they will be officially welcomed to the city
Two royal fans hold flags with the couple’s picture on as they await their arrival at Edinburgh Castle today
Royal fans braved the conditions to stake the best place to spot the couple on the esplanade
Earlier this morning, the One o’clock Gun is cleaned ahead of the visit by Harry and Meghan to Edinburgh Castle
The couple will then move on to the New Town to visit Social Bite, a social enterprise cafe which distributes 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to homeless people across Scotland each year, as well as employing staff who have experienced homelessness themselves.
In the cafe, Harry and Meghan will learn more about the social enterprise, meet staff and tour the kitchen.
They will be the latest in a string of high-profile visitors to Social Bite premises.
Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio stopped for lunch at Social Bite venture Home in Edinburgh’s west end in November 2016 while the Duchess of Cornwall and George Clooney have been to Social Bite’s Rose Street branch.
Prince Harry and Ms Markle will round off their visit by attending a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate youth achievements marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, an initiative that aims to inspire Scotland through its young people.
Cardiff, January 18: Harry and Meghan watch a performance while at Cardiff Castle for a day showcasing the heritage of Wales
Brixton, January 9: Harry and Meghan visit the radio station Reprezent FM to learn about its work supporting young people
Nottingham, December 1, 2017: Megan and Harry meet well-wishers on their first public outing as an engaged couple
Kensington, November 27, 2017: Harry and Meghan pose at Kensington Palace after the announcement of their engagement