Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on first Scottish visit

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Media captionPrince Harry and Meghan Markle have made their first official visit to Scotland

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have visited Edinburgh Castle at the start of their first official joint appearance in Scotland.

The trip is part of their public engagements in the run-up to their wedding on 19 May.

The royal couple spent several minutes talking to people in the crowd as they arrived at the Esplanade in front of the castle.

They then attended the firing of the castle’s famous One O’Clock Gun.

The visit is the fourth public appearance the couple have made together following their engagement in November.

It follows trips to Nottingham, Brixton in south London and Cardiff.

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Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle
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Image caption Meghan and Harry were greeted by Frank Ross, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost
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Image caption Harry and Meghan got engaged in November
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Harry and Meghan greeted well-wishers
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Image caption Meghan Markle during a walkabout on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle
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Image caption Meghan Markle shakes hands with a child in the crowd on the castle espalande

Royal fans braved wet and cold conditions to greet the prince and his bride-to-be at the start of their tour of the city.

Ms Markle wore a Burberry coat, with trousers by Veronica Beard.

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Image caption Meghan Markle wore a Burberry coat and a handbag from Edinburgh firm Strathberry

She also carried a handbag made by Edinburgh firm Strathberry, the same make as the bag she wore on her first Royal engagement in Nottingham in December.

The couple paused on the Esplanade for a few minutes to shake hands and talk to people in the crowd.

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Image caption Hannah Davey, 6, joins crowds ahead of a visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Edinburgh Castle

One of the first well-wishers to arrive at the castle’s esplanade was Sarah Coronado, 28, a masters student from Mexico studying at Edinburgh University.

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.”

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Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet Pony Major Mark Wilkinson and regimental mascot Cruachan IV

At the castle, Harry and Ms Markle joined Sergeant Dave Beveridge, district gunner, Royal Artillery for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun.

They were given ear defenders before standing behind the gun which dates back to 1861.

The couple also chatted to cadets and took in views across the city, before briefly waving to the crowds as they departed.

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Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet Sgt David Beveridge (right) before he fires the One o’clock gun at Edinburgh Castle

Harry and Ms Markle then visited social enterprise cafe, Social Bite, where they were again greeted by large crowds.

Many people waited in the cold for three hours for a glimpse of the pair.

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Image caption Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to Social Bite in Edinburgh

Social Bite 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.

Harry and Ms Markle spent time speaking to co-founders Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson.

They explained how homeless people struggle to find employment without an address.

The cafe offers work to those without their own accommodation as part of efforts to end the issue in Scotland.

When speaking to staff in the kitchen, Ms Markle said she wanted to work there because it seemed “fun”.

Harry and Ms Markle then went to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for their final public engagement.

The couple are attending a reception to celebrate youth achievements as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

Crowds lined the approach to the palace as the royal couple arrived.

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