Edinburgh prepares for visit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Crowds have begun to gather outside Edinburgh Castle in anticipation of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first joint official visit to the Scottish capital.

Despite cold and wet weather, and with the arrival some time away, royal fans braved the conditions to stake the best place to spot the couple on the castle’s esplanade.

Harry and his bride-to-be are expected to go on a walkabout, 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.

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.”

The trip to Scotland will be the fourth public appearance Ms Markle 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.

Kensington Palace 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.”

After the castle visit, the couple will move on to the New Town to visit Social Bite, a social enterprise cafe which distributes 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 Ms Markle will learn more about the enterprise, as well as meeting staff and touring 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 actor George Clooney have been to Social Bite’s Rose Street branch.

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