Meghan Markle‘s sparkle isn’t lost on one young boy. As part of the Duchess of Sussex’s visit to London’s National Theatre on Wednesday, January 30th, she caught a five-minute performance inspired by the play War Horse presented by young thespians from the Edith Neville Primary School, who are working with the theater’s elementary school program. The performance was created to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. The children sat on the floor gathered around Meghan.
Kensington Palace shared a sweet photo of one school boy with an ear-to-ear smile and his chin propped up by his hands gazing up at the royal, clearly starstruck—and perhaps a bit smitten. Meghan, with a hand placed on her growing baby bump, returns the grin.
The mom-to-be confessed to the children that she had seen them perform before—when she snuck into their show in December. “You guys did an amazing job when I saw you perform right before Christmas,” she told them. “I snuck in and watched. It was great, I didn’t want to leave.” She continued, “So this will be like a take two. But you’re much quieter than when I was last here!”
The children knew they’d be performing for a “VIP,” but they were shocked to find out it was Meghan. “I thought maybe it was the Duke of Edinburgh or George Ezra. But then when they said it was a female VIP I thought, ‘Yes! Rita Ora!’ ” said 10-year-old Kroni Pacolli. “I never thought I’d perform in front of the royal family and meet a royal. I’ve only ever seen her on TV. I’m speechless.” Pacolli added, “She came and shook my hand and I’m never going to wash this hand again!”
His classmate, 10-year-old Tahmina Begum, told reporters, “We didn’t know Meghan was coming, I thought it was maybe another actress—Emma Watson.” She added, “Meghan knows how it feels for us as she used to be an actress, so I hope she was impressed by what she saw.”
The former Suits star’s trip to the National Theatre marks her first public visit, three weeks after it was announced she had adopted it as one of her initial four royal patronages. It was handed down to her by Queen Elizabeth, who had previously served as its patron.
She began Wednesday’s visit by joining a workshop with members of the Pericles company, which was the National Theatre’s first Public Acts production—uniting people from the community in London with professional actors to create a new musical version of the Shakespeare play. Meghan also met current and former apprentices who are working as technicians in various departments, including carpentry, metalwork and painting.
The Duchess of Sussex “is a strong believer in using the arts to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together, and this first official visit to The National Theatre will explore the work they do, as well as meeting some of the talented teams and apprentices working behind the scenes,” her office said in a statement.
Meghan arrived in a monochrome look, pairing a blush blazer with a V-neck dress by Brandon Maxwell. The royal mom-to-be even recycled her Aquazzura Matilde crisscross pumps, which she wore for her engagement photo call with Prince Harry in the Sunken Gardens of Kensington Palace in Nov. 2017. (Princess Eugenie is also a fan of the shoes.) Meghan completed her look with a fun updo and carried the Metropolitan Insignia clutch from Carolina Herrera, which she previously used at Trooping the Colour last summer.