Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Wales as part of pre-wedding tour

Cheering crowds greeted American actress Meghan Markle and fiance Prince Harry in front of Cardiff Castle Jan. 18 during their first official visit to Wales. (Reuters)

LONDON — Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, carried out their first official visit to Wales on Thursday amid speculation about who will score an invitation to their upcoming nuptials — and who won’t.

Arriving about an hour late because their train was delayed, Harry and Markle began their day in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, with a walkabout, greeting members of the public who had gathered outside Cardiff Castle. News commentators described Markle as “a natural” with the crowds. And “Meghan mania” was how they described the response to her.

Prince Harry — a.k.a. His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales — and his American bride-to-be experienced a taste of Welsh culture during their tour. They sampled Welsh cakes, listened to a Welsh boys choir and were presented with Welsh love spoons.

The Cardiff visit was part of a tour of British towns and cities the couple are making ahead of their wedding.

The visit came a day after British Prime Minister Theresa May dodged a question in Parliament about whether she wants President Trump to be invited to the royal wedding on May 19.

There has been a debate here about the likelihood that Trump will attend the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, which seats about 800 people. The wedding won’t be a full-fledged state occasion, and Harry and Markle are not obliged to invite foreign heads of state.

On Wednesday, May was asked by an opposition Labour Party politician if she wants to extend an invitation to Trump.

“I’m not responsible for invitations to the royal wedding,” May told the House of Commons in response.

It is unclear whether the British government will advise or consult with the royal family or the palace on the guest list.

Asked about that possibility, a Downing Street spokesman repeatedly said: “Invitations are a matter for the royal household.”

And the Obamas? Will they be headed to Windsor in May? British tabloids have reported that May’s government is worried that inviting the former U.S. president and his wife, Michelle, could further strain diplomatic ties.

Prince Harry recently sidestepped an inquiry about whether the Obamas could expect an invitation in their mailbox, given the prince’s friendship with Barack Obama. The prince interviewed Obama for a segment that ran on BBC radio in late December, and after the prerecorded interview aired, a BBC presenter posed the delicate question.

“We haven’t even put the invites or the guest lists together yet, so who knows whether he could be invited or not?” Harry said. “I wouldn’t want to ruin that surprise.”

Harry and Markle’s public appearance in Cardiff marks their third official visit together. Earlier this month, they visited a radio station in the south London neighborhood of Brixton, where they received a raucously enthisastic reception. Shortly after they announced their engagement, they visited Nottingham on World AIDS Day, a visit that also drew large crowds.

In Cardiff on Thursday, the couple visited the Star Hub, a community and leisure center, to see an initiative that helps young people get involved with sports.

Before they left, Harry asked a group of schoolchildren to “give Meghan a group hug.” They happily obliged.

The visit took place just days after the U.K. Independence Party’s leader, Henry Bolton, dropped his girlfriend after she sent racist texts about Markle. Markle’s father is white, and her mother is black.


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