The trip is the first official engagement for Harry and the American actress since they announced their engagement earlier this week.

Markle had declared in a TV interview on Monday that she was keen to get her “boots on the ground” in Britain — and she got her wish Friday, emerging from a limousine with Harry for their first official royal event together.

gettyimages 883602958 Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Wow Crowds At First Royal Event

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attends the Terrance Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair at Nottingham Contemporary on December 1, 2017 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

It will be the first of many such engagements that Markle will undertake: On Friday she carried out her duties with enthusiasm, gripping the hands of cheering crowds as they lined the short route.

Everything went to plan — there were no awkward encounters, the snow that has buffeted some parts of the UK this week held off, and Markle seemed to be at ease with the flag-waving and camera-wielding residents of Nottingham who had gathered since early in the day to secure the best spots.

Markle started off at Harry’s side and offered a reassuring hand on his back, but a few minutes later she moved off on her own to meet the crowds further down the street, taking flowers and confidently greeting overjoyed fans.

One woman proudly showed off a picture she’d managed to snap of Harry as he leaned in to shake her hand.

“This is my hand and Prince Harry with his tongue out at me, which I think is a pretty cool photo. I was shocked I didn’t expect him to shake my hand,” the woman excitedly told CNN.

Libby Morton, a university student from Minnesota currently studying in the UK, said she turned out on Friday because Americans “absolutely adore the royal family.”

“It’s absolutely amazing to be here while its happening. I’m going to be here for the royal wedding, for the royal baby and its kind of a dream come true,” she added.

Prince Harry was keen to introduce his bride-to-be to “a community that has become very special to him,” according to a tweet from Kensington Palace on Tuesday.

Harry has spent a significant amount of time in the city both publicly and privately since he first met with young people there in 2013 when he was exploring issues around youth violence.

They plan to tour Britain in the next six months to give Markle an opportunity to learn about the country before their wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The couple visited a charity fair organized by the HIV/AIDS charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, marking World AIDS Day.

The newly-engaged couple were then due to head to a local school to meet with staff and mentors involved in the Full Effect program, which works to prevent young people from the community turning towards violence. Harry established Full Effect through The Royal Foundation in 2014.

(©2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)


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