THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on a winter wonderland walkabout in the heart of Bristol — but found they were not the main attraction for a group of tiny tots.
Meghan and Harry faced freezing temperatures that blanketed much of the south of England in snow, and greeted dozens of well-wishers outside the historic Bristol Old Vic theatre.
Wrapped up against the cold in a William Vintage coat, Oscar de la Renta dress and Sarah Flint boots the duchess shook hands and asked royal fans where they were from.
When the couple met a large group of two and three-year-olds from the nearby Abbeywood Tots nursery, they found the children were more excited about the digestive biscuits they had been given by a member of staff.
India Leachman, 25, a nursery practitioner, said: ‘We’ve been describing them as the prince and princess, which is easier to explain to the kids, and they were like “oh my gosh they’re coming, they’re coming”, then I gave them biscuits and they had like a giggle party to themselves.
‘Harry and Meghan found it so funny that the children beckoned them over like “we’re excited to see you”, and as soon as they came over they were interested in their biscuits.’
The couple had travelled by train to Bristol but arrived almost 20 minutes late for the start of their tour of the city, during which they were also visiting the Empire Fighting Chance, a charity using boxing to support children failing at school.
Meghan told one visitor: ‘Thankyou for waiting so long to say hi, our train was a little bit delayed but we tried our best to get here fast.’
Bristol’s Georgian theatre is undergoing a multimillion-pound restoration and has a unique place in British theatre history, having nurtured the talents of countless famous actors from Peter O’Toole to Sir Daniel Day-Lewis.
Stirling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins led the redesign of the theatre, built in 1766, which includes a full-height timber and glass-fronted foyer that reveals the original auditorium facade to the street for the first Time.
The internal layout has been transformed, with the restoration of the Georgian Coopers’ Hall, a new studio theatre created in the old barrel vaults and mezzanine galleries.
The project is the second stage of a 10-year, £26million programme to completely overhaul and safeguard the future of the theatre.
The couple unveiled a plaque marking their visit and the official opening of the theatre’s £2million re-development.
Artistic director Tom Morris thanked Harry and Meghan for their enthusiasm.
He told staff and supporters in a speech: ‘I am really inspired by the passion they have for theatre.’