Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made a surprise trip to Belfast as part of their pre-wedding tour of Britain.
The couple smiled and waved at stunned onlookers as they made their way inside the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Lisburn, surprising a huge crowd of unsuspecting children as they arrived inside the building.
They received a rapturous reception as they entered the huge performance arena, the former site of the Maze paramilitary prison, before watching some of the children deliver their ‘peace pledges’.
Later today, they will have lunch at the Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast’s Victorian gin palace, followed by a walkabout outside the building and a tour of the city’s Titanic museum.
Harry and Meghan touched down in Northern Ireland for an unannounced visit that follows on from high profile trips to other parts of the UK.
They have been touring Britain ahead of their May wedding and the prince will introduce his fiancee to Ulster during a series of events.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have touched down in Northern Ireland ahead of their first official joint visit
The couple were greeted by Lord Lieutenant for County Down David Lindsay (shown second left) and Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet Alexander Lane (far left)
The couple smiled and waved at stunned onlookers as they made their way inside the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Lisburn, surprising a huge crowd of unsuspecting children as they arrived inside the building
Meghan looked like she was enjoying herself as she sat next to school children at the exhibition centre in Lisburn, near Belfast
She shook hands with youngsters at the event to mark the second year of youth-led peace-building initiative in the city
Harry and Meghan touched down in Northern Ireland for an unannounced visit that follows on from high profile trips to other parts of the UK
Meghan Markle receives flowers as she and Prince Harry arrive for a visit to the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Lisburn where they attended an event to mark the second year of youth-led peace-building initiative Amazing the Space
In keeping with royal visits to Northern Ireland details were not released in advance and the itinerary was not disclosed for security reasons.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: ‘Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle are visiting Belfast today for their first official joint visit to Northern Ireland.
‘Throughout the day, Prince Harry and Ms Markle will have the opportunity to meet members of the public, to learn how young people are shaping the future of Northern Ireland, and to visit some of the city’s most loved sites.’
Later in the afternoon, at the nearby campus of Northern Ireland’s next generation science park, Catalyst Inc, Ms Markle and Harry will meet some of Ulster’s brightest young entrepreneurs and innovators.
The Reverend Dr David Latimer walks with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ahead of a busy day in Belfast for the royal pair
Meghan and Harry have been touring Britain ahead of their May wedding and the prince will introduce his fiancee to Ulster during a series of events
Harry and Meghan have arrived at the site of the former Maze paramilitary prison outside Lisburn where around two a half thousand young people from both sides of the Irish border have gathered for a peace building even
Meghan was given flowers as she and Harry arrived at the ‘Amazing The Space’ project at the Eikon Centre this morning
Their day will end with a tour of Titanic Belfast which tells the story of the ship, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to the vessel’s maiden voyage and infamous sinking.
The US actress began her UK tour with Harry in Nottingham a few days after their engagement announcement at the end of November last year.
In Brixton, the historic home of London’s Caribbean community, Meghan and Harry visited a local community centre, then they travelled to Cardiff, with the US actress getting an introduction to Welsh culture.
Edinburgh welcomed the coupled who visited the city’s historic castle and they also toured Birmingham.
Harry visited Northern Ireland last November when he opened a new ambulance station in Ballymena, County Antrim and also visited Belfast and Hillsborough Castle, County Down.
They were greeted by Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and Londonderry school children Amber Hamilton, from Foyle College, and Ryan McCallion from St Joseph’s Boys school, both 17, before meeting a number of dignitaries including chief constable George Hamilton