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As their big day nears, how the royal couple were wooed by Belfast charm

By Rebecca Black

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were delighted by the warm welcome they received in Northern Ireland during their recent tour of the UK, Kensington Palace has said in a statement.

The glamorous pair were greeted by huge crowds in Belfast and Lisburn in March during visits to the Crown Bar, Titanic Belfast, Catalyst UK and to the Eikon Exhibition Centre to mark the second year of Co-operation Ireland's youth-led peace-building initiative called Amazing the Space.

Just two weeks ahead of the couple's hotly anticipated royal wedding, they spoke of their joy at the crowds which turned out in Belfast, Nottingham, Cardiff, Brixton, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bath to give Ms Markle what the statement described as a welcome to the UK marked by warmth, enthusiasm and a real sense of fun.

The statement also revealed that Ms Markle's parents will meet the Queen ahead of the royal wedding, with both the bride's mother and father having "important roles" on the big day.

Ms Markle's father, Thomas Markle, will walk his daughter down the aisle at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, while her mother, Doria Ragland, will travel with her to the venue.

It also announced that all three of Princess Diana's siblings will be in attendance at the wedding, including Lady Jane Fellowes who will give the reading.

A number of people from Northern Ireland are among the 1,200 members of the public invited to the celebrations. The statement said this was the couple's way of expressing their gratitude for the messages of support they have received from around the UK and the world.

"As we said back in November, this wedding will be guided by tradition, allowing everyone to celebrate what makes royal weddings so special, but also one which reflects the personalities of Prince Harry and Ms Markle," the statement added.

"We have been announcing details over the last couple of months and in the final week ahead of the wedding you can expect to hear more about the arrangements, including the Instrument of Consent; details of the bridesmaids and page boys; the work of florist Philippa Craddock and the Crown Estate gardeners who have been growing and preparing the flowers that will fill the church; an update from Claire Ptak, the baker who will make the wedding cake, and the chefs who have been working in the palace kitchens to make the final preparations."

The public elements of the event will complete with the newly married couple leaving Windsor Castle for the evening reception at Frogmore House.

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