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Royal seal of approval for community projects

Huge crowds welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Wirral in January with residents – young and old - lining up to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

Getting Wirral’s Borough of Culture year off to a flying start, the couple unveiled a plaque at the new Wilfred Owen memorial in Hamilton Square and met veterans from Owen’s old school, Birkenhead Institute.

Harry and Meghan then spent more than 45 minutes meeting the excited crowds, including around 300 local schoolchildren specially invited by Kensington Palace. 

One lucky child - the appropriately named Megan from St Werburgh’s Primary School - even had Prince Harry sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her to celebrate her ninth birthday!

Children from Bidston Avenue Primary school gave father-to-be Harry a large teddy bear and one well-wisher asked Meghan, now six months pregnant, whether she was looking forward to becoming a mother. 

‘Very much,’ replied the Duchess, ‘and I know for certain Harry will make a great Dad’. Meghan, resplendent in a red coat and purple dress, added that she didn’t know whether she was expecting a boy or a girl but she was due to give birth in late April, which made headlines worldwide.

The royal couple visited Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, which offers support to more than 6,000 vulnerable local women on mental health, domestic abuse and addiction. 

The Duchess, a vocal champion of women’s rights and empowerment, said: ‘We really believe in the work that Tomorrow’s Women is doing. Having spoken to all of you, we very much believe in each and every one of you.

‘The courage that you have, the resilience that is being built and just the journey that you keep continuing to take, you’re an inspiration to so many people.’

Before they left, Harry and Meghan were given a pair of knitted baby boots from members of the centre’s knitting group.

The Duke and Duchess also visited Number 7, a supermarket and community café which provides local families with discounted goods as well as advice on benefits, jobseeking and debt. Meghan presented fellow expectant mother Angel Midgley with a large basket of baby goods, which led Harry to joke: ‘Is there a baby in there?’

Their tour of Birkenhead culminated with a visit to Hive Youth Zone, where they were greeted by more flag waving residents. The couple enjoyed a performance from The Hive’s junior dance troupe and ‘Edge of Seventeen’ vocal group, and heard inspirational stories from some of the children who attend the youth centre.