THOUSANDS of people turned out to greet Prince Harry and Meghan in Chichester on the first stop on the couple’s visit to Sussex.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took the time to greet members of the public in West Street before viewing a rare parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence at Edes House.
To the delight of the waiting crowds, their Royal Highnesses shook hands with many of those stood waiting at the barriers for a glimpse of the royal couple after arriving just outside Chichester Cathedral by the aptly named Duke and Rye pub.
They were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper, and the Mayor of Chichester, Martyn Bell.
Cllr Bell said: ‘It’s just marvellous that they’ve come to Chichester first, of course.
‘I’m just very proud, I’m proud of our city, and very proud of them as I’m sure everybody in Chichester is, it’s marvellous to see the turn out.’
The royal couple appeared delighted at the welcome from residents, some of whom had climbed onto windowsills for a better view, with many cheers of ‘Harry, Harry!’ and Union Jacks lining the street.
Meghan, who was wearing an autumnal shirt and skirt and a Giorgio Armani coat, spent a while shaking hands with Year 6 pupils at Westbourne House School before being presented flowers and an lovingly-made A-Z of Sussex.
The group’s head of year, Charlotte Sleep, said it was ‘fantastic’.
Pupils from Prebendal School also had a chance to speak with the Duke and Duchess.
Twelve-year-old Martha Waddington said: ‘Oh my gosh, it was amazing, I’m still speechless.’
Young and old had a chance to meet the couple, with Prince Harry reaching into the crowd to greet people and talking to a mum and her young baby before giving their dog a cuddle.
Before entering Edes House, the royal couple greeted dignitaries the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls, West Sussex County Council chairman Lionel Barnard, Chichester District Council chairman Elizabeth Hamilton, Chief Constable of Sussex Police Giles York and Vice Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex Harry Goring.
The Sussex Declaration was laid out in the entrance lobby of the historic building, complete with pictures of the research process undertaken by archivists to verify the document as one of only two ceremonial parchment copies in the world of the American Declaration of Independence.
The couple then signed the Edes House guest book before leaving via the back door to greet more crowds waiting outside County Hall.
Their next stop was Bognor Regis, where their Royal Highnesses officially opened the University of Chichester’s £35million tech park.