Duchess of Sussex speaks out for arts on snowy visit to Old Vic theatre

The Duchess of Sussex has spoken out in favour of the arts, telling young performers after-school creative activities are equally as important as sport.

Meghan’s words of encouragement came as she visited the historic Bristol Old Vic theatre with Harry, after meeting scores of well-wishers in the snow covered street outside the venue.

Wrapped up against the cold in a William Vintage coat, Oscar de la Renta dress and Sarah Flint boots, the duchess and her husband shook hands and asked royal fans where they were from.

Inside the theatre, which is undergoing a multimillion-pound restoration, Meghan and Harry watched young performers during a workshop then joined them onstage, with the duchess saying she had just been speaking about the importance of theatre opportunities for young people.

The heavily pregnant former actress added: “There’s so much emphasis in after-school clubs on sport.

“Channelling energy that you have into the creative arts and theatre is equally as important. Sport isn’t for everyone, just like theatre isn’t for everyone.

“You know there’s a place where you can find community and sort of explore self-discovery and other things you might thinking about.”

Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Bristol
Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Bristol

Meghan, who is the new patron of the National theatre, spent a decade working as an actress in television, where she was best known for her role in the hit US legal drama series Suits, playing paralegal-turned-lawyer Rachel Zane.

She also has a theatre background having studied theatre and international relations at Northwestern University, Illinois.

During the theatre visit, Harry told another group of students: “This is more than a hobby, isn’t it? It runs in your blood.”

Meghan replied: “It’s good to have a balance of both. When you have school, you really appreciate coming here. It is really good that you are able to explore all this creativity together.”

When the duke and duchess first arrived, they found they were not the main attraction for a group of tiny tots.

The two and three-year-olds from the nearby Abbeywood Tots nursery, were more excited about the digestive biscuits they had been given by a member of staff.

Children from Abbeywood pre-school are ready to say hello to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Bristol #RoyalVisitBristol ❄️ pic.twitter.com/tkUKI0DaZV

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 1, 2019

India Leachman, 25, a nursery practitioner, said: “We’ve been describing them as the prince and princess, which is easier to explain to the kids, and they were like ‘Oh my gosh, they’re coming, they’re coming’, then I gave them biscuits and they had like a giggle party to themselves.

“Harry and Meghan found it so funny that the children beckoned them over like ‘We’re excited to see you’, and as soon as they came over they were interested in their biscuits.”

The couple had travelled by train to Bristol, but arrived almost 20 minutes late for the start of their tour of the city, which has seen scores of schools closed because of the bad weather.

Meghan told one visitor: “Thank you for waiting so long to say hi, our train was a little bit delayed but we tried our best to get here fast.”