A swelling crowd braves the rain to glimpse duo who ‘radiate happiness’

When Prince Harry first visited Belfast in September, he took time to shake hands with everyone who wanted to meet him among the crowd outside the MAC theatre.

Yesterday, when the young royal returned to Northern Ireland’s capital city, this time with his fiancee Meghan Markle, the couple made similar efforts to say hello to what was a this time a much larger crowd of well-wishers, outside the Crown Liquor Saloon.

Meghan Markle reacts to wellwishers during a walkabout in Belfast after a visit to the Crown Bar in the city centre.  Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Meghan Markle reacts to wellwishers during a walkabout in Belfast after a visit to the Crown Bar in the city centre. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The pair arrived in dark four-wheel drive vehicles to cheers shortly before 1pm, and stayed inside the famous bar for the best part of an hour.

Word of their presence meant that the number of onlookers had grown to many hundreds in number.

The couple worked their way round the crowd, which surged forward to greet them from behind crash barriers.

Among the people who shook hands with Ms Markle was Geraldine O’Kane, from Magherafelt, who congratulated the beaming actress on her forthcoming wedding.

Prince Harry shelters under an umbrella as he meets wellwishers during a walkabout in Belfast after he and Meghan Markle visited the Crown Bar in the city centre. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Prince Harry shelters under an umbrella as he meets wellwishers during a walkabout in Belfast after he and Meghan Markle visited the Crown Bar in the city centre. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

“I just said, we are delighted for you. I was so excited I can’t remember her reply.”

Ms O’Kane had found out about the visit earlier in the day when she was in the Body Shop, and came round to wait to see the visiting couple.

Prince Harry and Meghan continued their walkabout despite a sudden downpour of rain, which did not mar the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Among them, standing under an umbrella, were Ken and Maud Dugan from Newtownards, who were celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary yesterday.

Maud and Ken Dugan from Newtownards outside the Crown bar in central Belfast after seeing the visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Friday March 23 2018. ''Pic by Ben Lowry

Maud and Ken Dugan from Newtownards outside the Crown bar in central Belfast after seeing the visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Friday March 23 2018. ''Pic by Ben Lowry

“It was just wonderful,” said Maud.

“It brings a lovely bout of happiness to everyone amid the doom and gloom.

“They radiate happiness. With Will and Kate their neighbours, it will be a lovely team of royals, all together.”

Mrs Dugan, who once visited Princess Diana’s grave at Althorp, said: “It is a pity she didn’t live to see this.”

Daniel Collins, Victoria Poole, Sarah Thompson and Geraldine O'Kane outside the Crown bar in central Belfast for the visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Friday March 23 2018. The quartet met each other while waiting to see the young couple. Geraldine, from Magherafelt, shook hands with Ms Markle and congratulated her on her engagement. ''Pic by Ben Lowry

Daniel Collins, Victoria Poole, Sarah Thompson and Geraldine O'Kane outside the Crown bar in central Belfast for the visit by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Friday March 23 2018. The quartet met each other while waiting to see the young couple. Geraldine, from Magherafelt, shook hands with Ms Markle and congratulated her on her engagement. ''Pic by Ben Lowry