In a relationship for more than a year now, the Prince of Wales and his actor, model, and humanitarian girlfriend created a stir when they made their first official joint public appearance on Monday at the Invictus Games in downtown Toronto.
The smitten couple looked happy and comfortable in each other’s company as they walked hand in hand toward Nathan Phillips Square to enjoy a game of wheelchair tennis between New Zealand and Australia at the annual Paralympic-style event.
Prince Harry, 33, and the “Suits” star were met with some politely subdued applause as they walked past rows of spectators, looking cool in casuals. They were both wearing jeans and dark sunglasses, with the prince in a dark polo shirt and Markle in a white button-down top.
It was but natural for the news to go instantly viral.
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It was a welcome change from Saturday’s opening ceremony when Markle was spotted cheering the athletes from the stands, while Prince Harry sat several rows apart in the company of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gov. Gen. David Johnston, and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump.
— Patricia Treble (@PatriciaTreble) September 24, 2017
Until Monday, there had been intense media and public speculation about when, if at all, the doting couple would make a public appearance together. Dozens of paparazzi and British photographers made themselves available for the event in the hope of getting that elusive photograph.
Speaking to CBC News on Saturday, Daily Mail photographer Rupert Thorpe said that the first photo of the couple would fetch anything from $60,000 to $123,000.
“They’re very careful,” Thorpe said at the opening ceremony. “They sort of sneak in the back of the hotel. You’re not going to see them together I don’t think in the hotel bar enjoying a bloody mary.”
Videojournalist Cathy Brazier of British Forces TV was of the opinion that Markle would make an appearance with her beau in good time. “I think she’ll turn up at some point, but she might want to do it when a lot of the press have gone home,” she said.
Well, all speculations and predictions were laid to rest with the couple finally appearing together at the Monday game.
Why the couple chose the Invictus game to make their first joint public appearance is a matter of further conjecture. Carolyn Harris, author of “Raising Royalty: A Thousand Years of Royal Parenting,” is of the opinion that the choice of event and venue has its own significance.
“The Invictus Games has been his initiative and it grows out of his own military service and now one of the key aspects of his public service is promoting the interests of veterans, so it shows how important this event is to him that he’s in Toronto attending all these events and that Meghan is accompanying him,” she said.
“This public appearance also demonstrates how Canada is a very welcoming environment for royalty — William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, made Canada their first Commonwealth tour as a married couple and now we’re seeing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping out as a couple,” she further surmised.
There is no denying the fact the Invictus games is close to Prince Harry’s heart if his comments on the Invictus website is anything to go by. Here’s what he writes.
“Time and time again, competitors from around the world tell me that sport has saved them; that the Invictus Games have given them a new lease on life; and that to represent their country again with fellow comrades is something they could only have dreamt of while lying in hospital.”
After the game, Prince Harry and Markle hung around for some time to mingle and shake hands with the participants.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are sticking around after the match to talk with teams.
For the record: Meghan has shaken her first hand. pic.twitter.com/JfLLc0RILA
— Patricia Treble (@PatriciaTreble) September 25, 2017
Their departure was no different from their arrival as the couple left the venue looking happy and very much in love.
And YES, they were holding hands as they left!
— Lizzie Robinson (@LizzieITV) September 25, 2017