Meghan and Harry pay respect to war poet Wilfred Owen on Birkenhead visit

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in Birkenhead to celebrate the life of one of the town’s most famous sons – the acclaimed First World War poet Wilfred Owen.

Harry and Meghan are carrying out their first joint royal engagement of the year and will spend the day meeting Birkenhead residents, visiting an organisation supporting women in vulnerable situations and a centre for young people.

Their visit was welcomed by Frank Field, Birkenhead’s MP, who said he had invited the couple to his constituency and the planned day reflected the Sussex’s interests and allowed them to get a real feel for the area’s people.

Mr Field said: “The two faces of Britain are here in Birkenhead, they are walking through the Alice in Wonderland door and visiting the other part of Britain – and they wanted to.”

The duke and duchess began their visit by viewing a sculpture in the town’s Hamilton Square that marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the First World War poet, killed a week before the end of the conflict.

The bronze artwork by sculptor Jim Whelan has been named after Owen’s poem Futility and shows an exhausted solider sat down with his head in his hands.

Mr Field said about the poet: “He’s the most important person for shaping our memory of war, it’s fitting the town should have a statue that sets new standards in sculpture.”

The visit comes after reports Meghan’s Met Police protection officer has left her post.