Storytime with Meghan! Duchess of Sussex shows her maternal side – and calligraphy skills – in unseen photos from Invictus Games event after saying she was missing Archie and Lilibet
- Meghan Markle, 40, joined the families of British Invictus Games competitors at an event on Sunday
- Unseen photos show the Duchess of Sussex sitting cross legged on the floor with a baby in her lap
- The mother-of-two spoke about missing her children Archie, two, and Lilibet, 10 months, at the event
- She is now home in Montecito, California, while Harry will remain in The Hague until the end of the week
The Duchess of Sussex showed off her maternal side when she joined British Invictus Games families at a book reading on Sunday, unseen photos show.
Meghan, 40, sat on the floor in a circle with 12 excited children at the private event, which was organised by the British Embassy in The Hague.
The mother-of-two told attendees she had wanted to pop in because she was missing her own children, Archie, two, and Lilibet, 10 months, who remained at home in Montecito, California, while Harry and Meghan jetted off to the UK and the Netherlands.
Photographs released yesterday by the British Embassy show Meghan cuddling a baby on her lap and speaking to an excited toddler walking across the play mat towards her.
The Duchess, who wore a pinstripe blazer and £455 Manolo Blahnik heels, sat crossed legged on the floor alongside other parents and family members to listen to veteran James Stride read children’s book Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, which she revealed is a favourite at home.
Cuddles with Meghan! The Duchess of Sussex held a baby on her lap during the story time session, which was hosted by the British Embassy in the Netherlands on Sunday. Meghan had spoken about missing children Archie, two, and Lilibet, 10 months
Maternal Meghan: The Duchess of Sussex cooed over a little boy who was playing with a foam letter at the event. The royal was joined by British competitors’ families and their children to hear a reading of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy
Intent: The Duchess of Sussex leaned in to speak to one little boy who joined the families at the Invictus Games event on Sunday
Arts and crafts! The Duchess also found time to show of her calligraphy – a skill she honed while working as an artist before getting her big acting break on US legal drama Suits.
Story time with Meghan! The Duchess (pictured right) sat in as an army veteran James Stride (pictured on the seat) read Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy to a group of 12 children
The photographs were shared on Twitter by the British Embassy in The Hague, pictured, which hosted the event
The Duchess also sat down at an arts and crafts table to show off her calligraphy – a skill she honed while working as an artist before getting her big acting break on US legal drama Suits.
The private event was held in a tent at the Zuiderpark, where the Invictus Games is being held, on the second day of the event.
‘Meghan was quite chatty and told me she was missing her children,’ Stride said after the event. ‘She said she wanted to be with children as she was missing her own.’
The couple’s first trip to Europe is understood to be the longest they have been apart from their children, who stayed behind at the Sussexes’ £11million home in Montecito, California.
Meghan returned home on Monday but Harry will remain at the Invictus Games, which he founded, until the end of the week.
James, 37, continued: ‘Meghan told me she was familiar with the book and one that she read to her own children. She was very friendly, and the book was well known by her family.’
The royal was accompanied by her burly security guard who kept an eye of the Duchess as she happily posed for selfies with fans. Two other security guards also watched from a distance as Meghan was swamped by well-wishers.
She happily posed for two selfies from women who had waited until she left the reading.
It had been expected that Meghan would read extracts from her own book ‘The Bench’ to a group of GB competitor’s children.
Missing home: Meghan told a veteran at the event that she had wanted to attend the reading as it meant she was around children, and they reminded her of her own back home in California. Pictured, the Sussexes on their 2021 Christmas card
But instead the book was chosen by 19-year veteran Stride as it was a favourite of his as a child.
After the reading he handed a copy of the book to Meghan and confessed the had cheekily signed his name inside and presented it as a gift.
James, who served in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, said he had previously met Prince Harry in 2007 when they both served in Afghanistan.
He said: ‘I was a vehicle engineer and Harry came in with his vehicle. I did meet him, but I don’t suppose he remembers me.’
James, who competes in the rowing and power lifting has the ‘I am Invictus’ logo tattooed on his leg, added: ‘I think they are both fantastic and they do so much to promote the games.’
Meeting her fans: After the story time Meghan spent time posing for photographs with well-wishers, as seen above
Time for a selfie! The Duchess of Sussex posed with a fan following the private event at the Invictus Games on Sunday
In an interview with People magazine, the Duke of Sussex, 37, revealed he ‘can’t wait’ to take his children to the Invictus Games in the future and that Archie, who turns three next month, wants to follow in his footsteps to become a helicopter pilot.
The royal added he’s a ‘proud papa’ and that little Archie ‘loved’ videos of wheelchair basketball and rugby that he showed him from the Invictus Games in Sydney in 2018.
‘I showed him how some were missing legs and explained that some had invisible injuries, too,’ he said. ‘Not because he asked, but because I wanted to tell him. Kids understand so much, and to see it through his eyes was amazing because it’s so unfiltered and honest.’
He added: ‘When I talk to my son Archie about what he wants to be when he grows up, some days it’s an astronaut, other days it’s a pilot — a helicopter pilot obviously — or Kwazii from Octonauts,’ referring to a daredevil cat from a children’s cartoon.
Royal cheerleaders: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watching the sitting volley ball competition on Sunday, before the story time event. Meghan has now returned to their children in California but Harry remains in the Netherlands
‘But what I remind him is that no matter what you want to be when you grow up, it’s your character that matters most, and nothing would make his mum and me prouder than to see him have the character of what we see before us today.’
Speaking about the Invictus Games – where wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women compete, he went on: ‘Being a dad certainly adds another emotional layer to it.
‘When I was in the Army, I promised myself I would be out before having a wife and kids, because I couldn’t imagine the heartache of being apart for so long during deployment, the risk of possibly getting injured, and the reality that my family’s lives could be changed forever if that happened.
‘Every member of the Invictus community has experienced varying degrees of these things. I have tremendous respect for what they and their families sacrifice in the name of service.’
Reflecting on how things have changed since the Toronto Invictus Games, Prince Harry added: ‘Now, five years later, here we are in The Hague at the fifth Invictus Games, as parents of two, and living in the US.
‘I had always wanted to share these incredible moments with someone special, and to have Meg by my side means everything.’
Their daughter, Lilibet, has not met the Queen or Prince Charles, while little Archie hasn’t seen his paternal grandparents or great-grandparents since he was six months old.
Following a meeting at Windsor Castle last week, the Queen has reportedly invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to attend the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
Harry and Meghan reportedly told the Queen she will be able to hug her great-grandchildren in ”the near future’, sparking speculation they might bring their children too.
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