Prince Harry and fiancee, Meghan Markle, have today undertaken their second visit as a couple since their engagement was announced at the end of last year; their first visit was to Nottingham. Visiting a youth radio station in Brixton, the couple were met by a large and enthusiastic crowd noisily shouting out the couple’s names.
As Harry and Meghan were being greeted by radio representatives and local dignitaries, the noise from the crowd reached such a level that Harry remarked to Meghan “it’s so loud” before asking her to “give them a wave”. She turned and did so, before giggling at the sight.
Reprezent FM was established 10 years ago as a means to try and tackle the increase in knife crime in the south London borough, giving youngsters the opportunity to develop and socialise through music and radio. It is credited with being hotbed for Grime and was the launchpad for Grime superstar Stormzy.
Over 4,000 young people have been through the training programme, and more than 3,000 are on the waiting list. Participants experience accredited training and support in skills ranging from audio and radio production and editing, to communication skills and confidence building, work experience and volunteering.
The talent Reprezent has nurtured is thriving with DJs and presenters working in the music industry, running their own club nights and producing their own music.
One of the DJ’s, Jevanni Letford, even touted his talents for the couple’s wedding reception in May by palming his business card to Harry.
Harry and his bride-to-be donned headphones to listen in to the station broadcasting and met 17 year old presenter, Glory who Meghan told: “I can see why your show is so popular. You’re so thoughtful and your approach is so engaging.” She then made everyone laugh when she added: “I must tune in.”
Prince Harry and Meghan approached CEO of and Founder of Reprezent FM, Shane Carey, just before Christmas to ask if they could visit the project after hearing about its work with the Queen’s Young Leaders.
“We didn’t invite them, they approached us just before Christmas,” said Mr Carey. “I was asked to give a major presentation the next day and have been working on this non-stop ever since.
“The reason they are coming is because we are aligned very closely to their interests, we do a lot of work around mental health. The whole model of Reprezent is peer mentoring, and I know that is something that really interests Prince Harry.”
Explaining why the couple did not appear on air, Shane continued: “They were very clear they didn’t want to be on the radio but one thing they were very, very strong on, which I quite liked actually, is that they wanted to talk to young people as much as possible.
“This is brilliant for us. We have been slogging at it for 15 years and to actually have the spotlight shone on us in this way is remarkable.”
Later in the visit, The Queen’s grandson gave an insight int the dynamics of his relationship with Meghan, when station manager Adrian Newman told him that they had a question for him during a discussion on gender equality.
Prince Harry pointed at Meghan and swiftly replied: “She answers the questions.”
“Yes, talking of gender equality!” Ms Markle replied, with a smile.
Speaking outside after the couple left, 62-year-old John Loughrey, who waited to see the Royals said: “Meghan came up to me and I told her that I had her favourite flowers (peonies) and she said thank you.
“I was very touched and surprised that they came over. It was a proud moment for Brixton and we all love them.”
This was Harry and Meghan’s first engagement of 2018 – a year in which they will both undoubtedly find themselves very busy as they prepare for their Windsor Castle wedding in May.