Meghan Markle became the queen of hugs when she embraced young school girls as she celebrated International Women’s Day with Prince Harry.
Meghan hugged the youngsters – including one who has dreams of being an actress – as she began an away day to Birmingham with her fiance.
The couple were cheered by crowds when they stepped from their chauffeur driven four-by-four at the city’s Millennium Point – with Meghan looking chic in a coat by J Crew, trousers by Alexander Wang and an All Saints jumper.
Before going inside the venue, to celebrate the efforts of girls at secondary school who are following a technology and science career path, the prince and the Suits star went on a walkabout meeting the crowds who had braved wet and cold conditions.
When they came to a group of school children, Harry began asking them about their hopes for the future and when 10-year-old Sophie Richards said she wanted to be an actress he took her over to meet Meghan.
The pupil from Oasis Academy in Worcester appeared excited to meet Meghan and she was hugged by Harry’s bride-to-be.
The youngster said afterwards: “Meghan told me that I can achieve whatever I want to achieve. And Meghan said she would like to see me on TV when I become an actress.
“It was a dream come true. I will never forget this day.”
Ms Markle has been hugging well-wishers throughout her tour of the UK with Harry which has taken her to Edinburgh, Nottingham, Cardiff and Brixton in south London.
She also embraced Pippa Roberts, aged 10, from Mere Green Primary School in Sutton Coldfield after a request from the youngster who said: “I said, can I have a hug and she said yes – it was nice.”
During their walkabout Harry and Meghan shook hands and greeted around 300 well-wishers and school children who had waited patiently to catch a glimpse of them.
Two elderly sisters, Irene Gould, 82, and her younger sibling June Dickinson, 78, from Kingshurst, Solihull in the West Midlands, were ecstatic after meeting Harry and his fiancee.
The Ms Gould said: “We were just so pleased to meet them, and how beautiful Meghan is. We never thought we’d be at the front of the crowds and get a chance to meet them.
“We thanked Harry for coming to see us and wished them all the best for their marriage.”
Student Charlotte Highsmith from Oxford was also overcome with excitement after meeting Meghan and said: “Oh my god, it was worth the wait – I’ve missed my lecture.”
The 20-year-old, who is studying criminology and policing at Birmingham City University, added: “Meghan just thanked us for waiting in the rain for her, but it wasn’t a problem.”
Inside Millennium Point Harry and his bride-to-be joined in the technological fun enjoyed by young female students who were building apps and touch pads – by putting on some virtual reality headsets.
The couple chatted to the teenagers and listened to the plans of some of them to work in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields.
Later Harry and Meghan did a double take when they met twins Elliott and Luke Rainbird, both 19, from Solihull, at a wellbeing centre, who were taking part in a training masterclass organised by Birmingham’s Coach Core programme.
The apprenticeship scheme, designed by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, is aimed at developing the next generation of sports coaches.
Ms Markle looked at the twins and joked she was only able to tell the identical pair apart by Luke’s fluorescent trainers.