March 23, 2018 / 4:05 PM / 8 months ago

UK's Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan delight crowds in Belfast

BELFAST (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince Harry took his American fiancee Meghan Markle to Northern Ireland on Friday where they were met by screams of delight as the couple ended their tour of the United Kingdom’s four nations.

The couple were met by cheering crowds lining the street as they went for a pub lunch in the historic Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast’s city center during a day-long trip to the British province’s capital.

A Victorian gin palace dating back to 1849, the pub has a bar fitted out by Italian craftsmen in their off time after they were brought to Belfast by Protestant mill-owners to build churches for their growing Catholic workforces.

After lunch in a booth at the back of the bar the pair, who will marry on May 19, spent 30 minutes greeting hundreds of well-wishers who were undaunted by a sudden downpour of rain.

Three-year-old Thea Campbell shouted out “Happy Easter Meghan” and was rewarded with a chat with the bride-to-be who was wearing a pale Mackage coat, green skirt by Greta Constantine, cream Victoria Beckham sweater and carrying a tan Charlotte Elizabeth handbag.

After Thea handed over a bouquet of yellow roses, her grandfather, Nigel Grey said: “She loved it, she is made up. She said ‘Happy Easter Meghan’ and Meghan said ‘Happy Easter’ back”.

A fellow Californian to Markle, Susan James, had just got off the train from Dublin when she saw the crowds.

“Oh My, this is unreal,” she said “You don’t expect to take a holiday in Belfast and stumble on a member of the Royal family. Don’t they look great?”

Earlier the couple visited a peace building initiative, which Prince Harry launched last year to encourage young people across Northern Ireland to become ambassadors for peace within their communities.

Slideshow (20 Images)

Northern Ireland suffered through three decades of sectarian violence that was ended by a 1998 peace accord.

After the walkabout, it was on to a science park to meet some of the province’s young innovators before wrapping up the trip with a visit to Titanic Belfast, one of the leading attractions in the city’s now thriving tourist sector.

The interactive center - built beside the slipway from where the iconic liner was launched - charts the history of the Titanic from the laying of its keel in 1909 to its sinking on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912.

Editing by Padraic Halpin

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