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  1. ITV Report

Meghan hugs Red Sox relative as royal couple watch baseball game

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with players of the Boston Red Sox Credit: Peter Nicholls/PA

The Duchess of Sussex hugged a baseball star relative when she made a surprise visit to a London match between two of the sport’s biggest teams.

Thousands of baseball fans roared as Meghan and the Duke of Sussex entered the field at the London Stadium before the first Major League Baseball (MLB) game played in Europe.

It was known Harry would be there, and representatives from his Invictus Games Foundation charity threw the first pitches of the match between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

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Players from both teams competed for the support of the royal couple’s newborn son Archie by giving his parents branded baby-sized merchandise when they met them before the game.

In the Boston Red Sox changing room, Mookie Betts was the only player from either side to get a hug from Meghan, and he explained: “We’re family somehow.”

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After the hug, Harry turned to the rest of the team to ask whether anyone else wanted to lay a claim to being related to Meghan, with a number of players raising their hands.

The Boston Globe reported last May that outfielder Betts had learned he was a distant relative of Meghan, as their ancestors are from the same part of Alabama, according to an amateur genealogist.

After the game, asked by Fox Sports if he was related to Meghan, Betts said: “Yes I read about it, I was informed, I was informed last year when I found out we were coming.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive presents for their son Archie as they meet players of the New York Yankees Credit: Peter Nicholls/PA

“So I figured, I hope I get to meet her, and I did, and I gave her a hug, and I think she invited me over for dinner.”

Harry admitted his poor knowledge of the sport to the assembled Red Sox players, asking: “I’m not that current with baseball – who normally wins?”

After the team presented the couple with the presents, the duke assured them they had him and his wife’s support, only to later tell the Yankees they had “beaten next door’s gift”.

Before play started, the duke and his American wife stood in the sunshine in the centre of the London Stadium field with Invictus Games Foundation representatives as both the US and UK anthems were sung.

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Former competitors in the Invictus Games, an international sports competition for injured military personnel which the duke helped set up, started the match by throwing the first pitches.

Abbie Kasparis, a former Lance Corporal in the British Army, threw one and the other was thrown by Ryan McIntosh, who served in the US army.

Before the game, the duchess told the Red Sox squad that she was “so glad they didn’t ask me to do it”.

“So am I,” replied the duke, prompting laughter from his wife and the players.

The Invictus Games Foundation was chosen as an official charity partner of MLB’s London Series, which sees games played at the home of West Ham United football team on Saturday and Sunday.