Prince Harry, Markle make first public appearance

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their public debut as in Toronto on Monday

Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle chose to make their public debut as a couple in Toronto on Monday, making an unexpected but highly anticipated appearance together at the Invictus Games, the international sporting competition spearheaded by the royal.

The prince and Markle, a Toronto-based actor in the legal drama “Suits,” held hands as they walked toward Toronto’s city hall to take in a game of wheelchair tennis, one of several events that make up the week-long Games for wounded soldiers.

Both were dressed casually in jeans, the prince pairing his with a black polo shirt while his girlfriend wore a pale button-down shirt. They both wore dark sunglasses. And for those wondering, there was no ring seen on Markle’s left hand.

Related: All eyes on Prince Harry’s relationship

Harry, 33, is in the city for the Games, a multi-day sporting event he founded in 2014 to inspire and motivate wounded soldiers on their paths to recovery.

His presence had sparked intense speculation about whether the couple — who have publicly acknowledged their relationship and have been photographed together in the past — would appear together at an official event.

Markle, 36, had appeared at the Games’ opening ceremony this weekend, cheering athletes from the stands, but was seated several rows away from Harry, who sat next to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. first lady Melania Trump.

That they chose a sporting event at the Games as their first public joint appearance is significant, said royal historian Carolyn Harris, author of “Raising Royalty: A Thousand Years of Royal Parenting.”

“The Invictus Games has been his initiative and it grows out of his own military service and now one of the key aspects of his public service is promoting the interests of veterans, so it shows how important this event is to him that he’s in Toronto attending all these events and that Meghan is accompanying him,” she said.

“This public appearance also demonstrates how Canada is a very welcoming environment for royalty — William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, made Canada their first Commonwealth tour as a married couple and now we’re seeing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping out as a couple.”

Some royal watchers had earlier suggested the couple would hold off on a public appearance together for fear of stealing the spotlight away from the Games, but Harris said their presence has, in fact, brought more attention to the event.

She said it is interesting that they chose to attend wheelchair tennis together, noting that tennis courts have been “the setting for royal events since the Middle Ages.”

Harry has been dating Markle since last year. He confirmed the relationship in November when he complained about intrusive press coverage. Markle recently told Vanity Fair she and Harry are in love.

Harry and Markle sat together in the stands at the small downtown Toronto tennis venue on Monday, occasionally applauding or leaning in to talk to each other. The couple later lingered to speak and shake hands with some in the crowd.

They eventually walked away from the event, again holding hands.

The Invictus Games run until Sept. 30.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

REFLECTIONS: Ponoka was booming after the war years

By Mike Rainone for the News At the end of the long… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Ponoka Festival of Trees opening night gala and auction

Generous donors and bidders will help reach $100,000 goal

Fundraiser a test of endurance and fitness

Ponoka gym setting up to participate in worldwide fitness event

Alberta Justice Minister advocates UCP rural crime plan

Expanded property rights, more power to peace officers, demonetizing scrap mental part of UCP plan

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Protesters say Alberta bill would make it harder to access some medical services

The bill would mean a health-care provider could not be sanctioned for refusing to provide a service due to morals

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

One year on, most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

Sweden’s central bank says it has sold its Alberta-government issued bonds

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

Most Read