Crowds gather for Harry and Meghan's first walkabout

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be greeted with packed streets on their first royal engagement together as a couple today.

The American future duchess and her husband-to-be are in Nottingham today as she learns about Harry's efforts to raise awareness of HIV/Aids and efforts to tackle youth crime.

Excitement in the city has reached fever pitch as it welcomed the couple on their first public appearance since getting engaged.

Well-wishers waved Union Flags and had cards to hand to Harry and Meghan, who this week  announced they were getting married revealed it would be St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in May.

Huge crowds lined the streets of the city centre to catch a glimpse of them as they walk through this morning and perhaps catch a few words.

Kensington Palace has said the couple, who announced their engagement on Monday, will start the tour with a civic welcome at the National Justice Museum.

Crowds gather outside the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, ahead of a visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Crowds gather outside the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, ahead of a visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

There is also a huge security presence in the East Midlands city for the historic royal visit for the couple

There is also a huge security presence in the East Midlands city for the historic royal visit for the couple

Well-wishers waved Union Flags for Harry and Meghan, who this week announced they were getting married revealed it would be St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in May.

Well-wishers waved Union Flags for Harry and Meghan, who this week announced they were getting married revealed it would be St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in May.

This card signed by well-wishers will be handed to the couple today as they prepare for married life

This card signed by well-wishers will be handed to the couple today as they prepare for married life

Crowds of curious and excited onlookers packed the streets of Nottingham on Friday, including avid fan Irene Hardman.

The 81-year-old is well-known for handing bags of Haribo sweets to Harry, and first presented his father, the Prince of Wales, with two bags - the other for brother William - 20 years ago.

She said: 'It is absolutely wonderful and fantastic, and we privileged they've chosen Nottingham to be their first official engagement.'

She has a goody bag ready to hand over, including copies of the local paper and two fridge magnets 'so they don't fight over it'.

The city and its people are close to Harry's heart, with the visit his third public trip there since October last year.

But it marks the first formal visit by the couple in what will be a six-month tour of the UK, allowing the American former actress to get to know her new home.

Betty Parker, 78, from Sneinton, Nottingham, said 'We love him', and of Ms Markle 'She's beautiful'.

Asked what she thought of the engagement, she added: 'We really wish them all the very best - they're a lovely couple.'

Frank Shelton, of Carlton, Nottinghamshire, turned up with Kim, an eight-year-old barn owl which goes everywhere with him, and said he was there as 'a fan of William and Harry'.

It was announced earlier this week that the royal couple are set to tie the knot at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle in May next year.

Mary Cooper, 60, who had been waiting to see the prince and his bride-to-be since before 9am, said: 'I think it's absolutely wonderful that both he and his brother have found happiness.'

Nikita Sahni, 17, who turned up with friends from Nottingham Girls' High School, said of the engagement: 'She'll be good for the royal family, modernising it and making it more accessible.' 

Royal Engagement: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally announced their engagement after weeks of fevered speculation on Monday. The royal couple made their first public appearance hours after breaking the news in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace 

Royal Engagement: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally announced their engagement after weeks of fevered speculation on Monday. The royal couple made their first public appearance hours after breaking the news in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace 

Well wishers in Nottingham sign an engagement card for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Others brought sweets for them

Well wishers in Nottingham sign an engagement card for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Others brought sweets for them

This will be followed by a walkabout where they have the opportunity to greet members of the public as a couple for the first time.

The pair will then visit the Nottingham Contemporary gallery, which is hosting a Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day charity fair. 

HARRY AND MEGHAN SET FOR A WHIRLWIND WORLD TOUR AFTER 2018 ROYAL  

The couple will embark on a world tour straight after their wedding in May 

The couple will embark on a world tour straight after their in May 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will travel the world after tying the knot next May. 

The Royal couple will visit Sydney in October where the Prince will host his fourth Invictus Games.

They will also visit key Commonwealth country Canada, where Meghan lived for six years. 

The newly-engaged couple are also expected to visit the US and could lend their support to the Walk of America for injured veterans in June. 

Meghan, 36, will be getting to know her new home in the UK and will carry out her first royal duties in Nottingham. 

Harry, 33, is also set to introduce her to Sentebale - his AIDS orphans charity set up in memory of Princess

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