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Royals Bank on Meghan Effect

Markle sparkle: Prince Harry, his fiancee Meghan Markle and Duchess of Cambridge attend the first annual Royal Foundation Forum held at Aviva in London, February 28, 2018

The Royal Family is hoping that some of the magic of its latest recruit rubs off on its charitable activities and public image. She has already had tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and fast-tracked to attend the traditional Christmas service at Sandringham.

Now former US actress Meghan Markle has made her first official appearance alongside fiance Prince Harry and his elder brother William and pregnant wife Kate, the first time the royal “Fab Four” have carried out a public engagement together.

The quartet appeared on stage together to take part in the Royal Foundation forum, a new annual event to showcase the projects run or launched by the royals’ main charitable and philanthropic vehicle which William and Harry set up in 2011. Royal courtiers will be hoping Markle’s growing popularity in Britain will boost the vast charitable portfolio of the Royal family.

Harry, 33 and Markle, 36, have attracted worldwide media attention since they announced last November they were getting married while William, 35 and Kate, 36, have been a major media draw since their wedding in 2011.

And Markle, an avowed humanitarian who already acts as global ambassador for World Vision cannot wait to “hit the ground running”, after her wedding in the spring. “We wait a couple of months and then we can hit the ground running but up until then I’m pretty excited,” she said.

“Harry and I see the world so similarly in our approach of being very hands-on with things. I have been fortunate enough to meet with some incredible women and organisations in the UK that are doing work here, but also knowing that some of the work I’ve done in the past has been in Commonwealth countries.”

Working as family does have its challenges, of course it does. But we’re stuck together for the rest of our livesPRINCE HARRY

Markle will become the Foundation’s fourth patron after she marries Harry at the queen’s Windsor Castle residence on 19 May. Her commitment to the cause cannot be faulted thus far as the former Suits actress has given up a promising big screen career, shut down her social media channels and announced she is wounding up existing charitable commitments.

The Royal Foundation focuses on issues such as helping young people, wildlife conservation, cyberbullying and supporting the military, most notably through the Invictus Games for wounded or disabled veterans which Harry founded.

Last year, the princes were widely praised for leading a campaign to tackle the stigma of mental health illness and speaking out about how they had personally suffered following the death of their mother Princess Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997.

“We’re pretty tied up with planning a wedding at the moment but we’re really looking forward to working as a pair and as a four going forward and hoping to make as much of a difference where we can,” Harry said.

Asked if there were any disagreements with the family working closely together, William joked: “Oh, yes!”

Harry added: “They come so thick and fast. Working as family does have its challenges, of course it does. But we’re stuck together for the rest of our lives.”

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