Hundreds of well-wishers mobbed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they conducted their first overseas walkabout – with the World Cup a hot topic.
Excited students and tourists flocked to Trinity College’s Parliament Square to catch a glimpse of Meghan and Harry as their whirlwind visit to Dublin took them to the Irish capital’s prestigious university.
Screams and shouts greeted their appearance along with outstretched hands from fans as a sea of camera phones were held up to capture the moment.
With England’s crunch semi-final World Cup match against Croatia looming, Harry’s first words to the crowds were: “Are you all cheering for England?”
And in a reference to the lyrics from the Three Lions anthem, he declared: “It’s definitely coming home.”
Rachel Marks, 19, said the duchess had also been excited about watching the game, confirming she would be tuning in this evening.
The couple walked past the ecstatic royal fans standing five deep against crash barriers, greeting as many of them as they could.
Harry joked with the crowds telling them he would like to come back safely disguised by a hood to make the most of Meghan’s “favourite” city.
Best friends Sophie Maher, 11, and Emma Bowden, 10, had brought Irish flags with them, along with a handwritten postcard for Meghan telling her: “I love your style. Enjoy your stay.”
“She said hello and asked us what our names are,” said Sophie afterwards.
“She’s really nice.”
Emma added: “She said she loved a handwritten postcard and that it was really nice to get one. She shook my hand – it smells so good!”
Two fans, Stephanie Jordan and Caroline Marsh, both 27, took the day off work to make the journey from Belfast and wore t-shirts reading “When Harry Met Meghan”.
David Balfany, who was in Dublin with his family on holiday from America, said he had asked the duchess whether she would be attending the reunion of their alma mater Northwestern.
“She said she probably couldn’t make it,” he added.
Both the duke and duchess made a beeline for babies, with Conrad Galvin, seven-months-old, waking up just in time to shake their hands one after the other.
The duke also seemed particularly interested in two large tree stumps in the grounds of the college, asking students why they had been chopped down.
Emily Witter-Nolan, a 19-year-old midwifery student, said: “He asked why we’re here because it’s the summer holidays, and said how lovely it was to be in Ireland.
“He also talked a lot about winning the match tonight.”
Chloe Mullins, 19, gave the couple a framed sketch she had done of their engagement photograph.
“Harry said ‘You’ve given me more hair’,” she disclosed.
“He saw it and was like, ‘Wow’. Meghan came over and he said ‘Look at this, what do you think of it?’ She said wow too and thanked me for it.”
Elizabeth Ring, a 19-year-old law student, said of her conversation with the couple: “Meghan said Dublin was her favourite city. Harry said he’d come back with his jacket over his head, incognito.”
Told she was coping well with walking on cobblestones in her high heels, the duchess replied: “I’m trying!”
Katie Balfe, who is studying journalism, appeared emotional as she spoke to the duchess, telling her she was a personal “inspiration” as a high-profile advocate of women’s rights.
“She said she was really enjoying her visit and that what I said made it even more special,” she said.
The duchess was given a box of chocolate mint Girl Guide cookies by a guide group visiting from Canada, telling them she too had been a Girl Scout for “many years”.
After around 20 minutes, the duke and duchess waved one last time before departing by car.