Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arrive in Birkenhead

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived for their first joint engagement of the year as they visit the northwest town of Birkenhead.

Meghan, 37, looked stunning in a red wrap coat and matching stilettos worn over a figure-hugging £107 purple dress from Babaton by Aritizia as she touched down in Merseyside with her husband on Monday morning. 

And in a return to her signature style, the Duchess ditched the sleek chignon she’s been sporting in recent weeks for a classic messy bun. 

Meghan’s £1,085 red coat, believed to be a new addition to her wardrobe, is from Canadian brand Sentaler and she has worn the brown version previously in Sandringham.

The couple, who are expecting their first baby in the spring, have travelled to Merseyside from London to visit organisations that support and empower groups within the community.

Their first stop is Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square to view a new sculpture erected in November to mark the 100th anniversary of war poet Wilfred Owen’s death. 

Lady in red! The Duchess of Sussex , 37, looked stunning in a red wrap coat and matching stilettos worn over a purple dress as she touched down in Merseyside on Monday morning for her first joint engagement with Prince Harry

Lady in red! The Duchess of Sussex , 37, looked stunning in a red wrap coat and matching stilettos worn over a purple dress as she touched down in Merseyside on Monday morning for her first joint engagement with Prince Harry

Lady in red! The Duchess of Sussex , 37, looked stunning in a red wrap coat and matching stilettos worn over a purple dress as she touched down in Merseyside on Monday morning for her first joint engagement with Prince Harry

The bun is back! In a return to her signature style, the Duchess of Sussex ditched the sleek chignon she's been sporting in recent weeks for a classic messy bun

The bun is back! In a return to her signature style, the Duchess of Sussex ditched the sleek chignon she's been sporting in recent weeks for a classic messy bun

Meghan down in Merseyside on Monday morning

Meghan down in Merseyside on Monday morning

The bun is back! In a return to her signature style, the Duchess of Sussex ditched the sleek chignon she’s been sporting in recent weeks for a classic messy bun as she touched down in Merseyside on Monday morning

Cover up in style in a Sentaler coat like Meghan

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Harry and Meghan are greeted as they arrive in Birkenhead. After unveiling a plaque to mark the visit, Harry and Meghan will meet local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, and played a part in the creation of the tribute

Harry and Meghan are greeted as they arrive in Birkenhead. After unveiling a plaque to mark the visit, Harry and Meghan will meet local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, and played a part in the creation of the tribute

Harry and Meghan are greeted as they arrive in Birkenhead. After unveiling a plaque to mark the visit, Harry and Meghan will meet local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, and played a part in the creation of the tribute

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrives arm in arm to unveil a statue if poet Wilfred Owen. It comes as the couple continue to make renovations on their new home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, ahead of the birth of their first child

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrives arm in arm to unveil a statue if poet Wilfred Owen. It comes as the couple continue to make renovations on their new home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, ahead of the birth of their first child

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrives arm in arm to unveil a statue if poet Wilfred Owen. It comes as the couple continue to make renovations on their new home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, ahead of the birth of their first child

The statue, which is named after one of Owen’s works, Futility, is cast in bronze and represents an exhausted First World War soldier. 

After unveiling a plaque to mark the visit, Harry and Meghan will meet local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, which Owen belonged to, and played a part in the creation of the tribute.

The Duke and Duchess will then undertake a royal walkabout amongst the expected crowds, many of whom had been queuing for hours to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

Later they will visit Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, an organisation that supports women in vulnerable circumstances.

Initially established in 2011 to support women upon their release from prison, it has since expanded and now offers a range of training courses and workshops for more than 6000 local women, including support groups around mental health issues, domestic abuse, and addiction.

Harry and Meghan will speak to some of the women directly before visiting the onsite charity shop, café, and Inspiration Hall. Their last stop of the day will be the Hive Wirral Youth Zone.

Created by the charity OnSide Youth Zones, which is developing 21st century youth facilities across the UK, the Hive provides a safe environment where young people can come and enjoy themselves, building key skills and raising their aspirations and confidence.

The duke and duchess will meet members as they take part in activities and workshops throughout the centre, before unveiling a plaque to mark the visit. 

Royal recycling! Meghan's £1,085 red coat, believed to be a new addition to her wardrobe, is from Canadian brand Sentaler and she has worn the brown version previously on Christmas Day in Sandringham, Norfolk in 2017

Royal recycling! Meghan's £1,085 red coat, believed to be a new addition to her wardrobe, is from Canadian brand Sentaler and she has worn the brown version previously on Christmas Day in Sandringham, Norfolk in 2017

Royal recycling! Meghan’s £1,085 red coat, believed to be a new addition to her wardrobe, is from Canadian brand Sentaler and she has worn the brown version previously on Christmas Day in Sandringham, Norfolk in 2017

Meghan cradles her bump after touching down in Hamilton Square

Meghan cradles her bump after touching down in Hamilton Square

The couple will experience four 'good news stories' in the Wirral town after accepting an invitation from local MP Frank Field, according to the Liverpool Echo .

The couple will experience four 'good news stories' in the Wirral town after accepting an invitation from local MP Frank Field, according to the Liverpool Echo .

Meghan cradles her bump after touching down in Hamilton Square. The couple will experience four ‘good news stories’ in the Wirral town after accepting an invitation from local MP Frank Field, according to the Liverpool Echo 

Meghan arrives at Hamilton Square, Merseyside. The couple, who are expecting their first baby in the spring, have travelled to Merseyside from London to visit organisations that support and empower groups within the community

Meghan arrives at Hamilton Square, Merseyside. The couple, who are expecting their first baby in the spring, have travelled to Merseyside from London to visit organisations that support and empower groups within the community

Meghan arrives at Hamilton Square, Merseyside. The couple, who are expecting their first baby in the spring, have travelled to Merseyside from London to visit organisations that support and empower groups within the community

The couple will experience four ‘good news stories’ in the Wirral town after accepting an invitation from local MP Frank Field, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Mr Field, who has served Birkenhead since 1979, wrote to the couple himself and said he was ‘absolutely thrilled’ when they accepted his offer.

He told the newspaper: ‘Although there are hundreds of projects I’d like the royal couple to see, the groups they will be meeting next week are characteristic of so much of the good work going on in Birkenhead.

‘They will be seeing a stunning World War I memorial that sets new standards for sculpture. They will also launch new projects that are at the cutting edge of fighting poverty, draw even greater attention to the inspirational work being done by Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, and witness the impact The Hive is having on the lives of so many young people in Wirral.’

Mr Field said the visit to Tomorrow’s Women will be of great interest to Meghan in particular with her focus on women’s issues and countering modern slavery.

Wellwishers wait for the the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Hamilton Square on the first stop of their visit to Birkenhead today. Many had been queuing for hours to catch a glimpse of the royal couple, and were waving Union flags

Wellwishers wait for the the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Hamilton Square on the first stop of their visit to Birkenhead today. Many had been queuing for hours to catch a glimpse of the royal couple, and were waving Union flags

Wellwishers wait for the the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Hamilton Square on the first stop of their visit to Birkenhead today. Many had been queuing for hours to catch a glimpse of the royal couple, and were waving Union flags

He added: ‘She will be talking to women there on these issues as well as how they successfully make the transition back from prison to society.’

Mr Field said the projects were chosen by the couple and for their proximity to one another. That means they can spend more time meeting people from Birkenhead rather than travelling longer distances between engagements, the Echo reported.

The MP praised the royal family for showing interest in ‘bodies that fill gaps that the state cannot and doesn’t reach’, and ‘making sure money is raised so that those bodies have viable budgets’.

Pregnant Meghan, who is expecting her first child with Harry this spring, is continuing to keep a busy schedule packed with royal engagements as she nears her due date.

The mother-to-be stepped out in London last week and the couple will also make an appearance on Wednesday to watch Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of a fundraising campaign for Harry’s charity Sentebale.

It comes as the couple continue to make renovations on their new home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, ahead of the birth of their first child.

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