Meghan Markle makes graceful royal debut: 'She is beautiful and down to earth'

By Patricia Treble

While the appearance of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in public together for the first time caused an online frenzy, those in the crowd at the semi-final wheelchair tennis match were equally surprised and delighted.

Meghan looked a bit nervous at the beginning – no doubt because a dozen photographers were snapping pictures from around 12 m away – but quickly settled into the match with her prince by her side. “Every time she and Harry spoke, we could hear ‘click, click, click' of the cameras" reported Dee O’Connor, a New Zealand team official who sat near Meghan and Harry. “She is just stunning,” she said after the match, "Beautiful and down-to-earth.”

TAP FOR GALLERY The couple arrived hand-in-hand to the event at Nathan Phillips Square.

The Suits star carried herself with grace and elegance as she enjoyed what is likely her first of many outings during the Invictus Games. She wore a crisp white shirt, blue jeans and a brown Everlane leather tote. Her long hair flowed over her shoulders, while round sunglasses hid her eyes from the media, and the blazing sun.

The prince and his actress girlfriend seemed absorbed by the close match, which saw New Zealand defeat Australia 6-3 to advance to the final. As the players changed ends after each game, Harry and Meghan chatted with fans seated near them. The discussions were largely about the match, those around them said. After the game, Meghan accomplished another royal duty: shaking hands and chatting with the Australians and New Zealanders.

Meghan and Harry watched the game court side.

They also picked up a few gifts before saying their final goodbyes. One Australian gave Harry a stuffed koala that he was carrying when he left the venue. Olivia Kornel, 16, who was seated one seat away from Meghan, gave Harry a rugby kiwi pin, though she said it was really for both of them. Even though Olivia calls herself “a big fan of Suits,” she didn’t spend a lot of time watching the royal lovebirds during the match, preferring to focus on the action on the court. That’s because her dad, Glenn Barnes, was one of the winning Kiwi players. Oliver Lawler, 8, and his older brother, Bailey, 10, both got to talk and shake hands with Meghan and Harry. “She’s pretty,” Bailey said.

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