The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have kicked-off their three-day visit to New York City with a visit to the World Trade Center in their first big public trip since quitting the royal family for California.
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, arrived at One World Trade Center at 8:14am Thursday in somber outfits, likely chosen for their planned trip to the nearby 9/11 Memorial afterwards.
The couple exited a black SUV, and were whisked up to the skyscraper’s viewing deck – which sits between floors 100 and 102 – to meet NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, 60, and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, 63, who arrived minutes before them.
Meghan donned a stylish dark blue outfit, with a matching jacket, polo neck, wide-legged trousers, heels and her hair swept back into a business-like bun. She wore simple pearl earrings and muted makeup.
Harry wore a complementary dark suit and tie. The couple, whose children Archie, two, and Lilibet, three months, have remained at home in California, were snapped donning black face masks as they entered One World Trade Center.
It is unclear if the Sussexes – famed for their pronouncements on climate change – arrived in New York on a commercial flight or private jet.
Mayor de Blasio shared a live stream of himself and Hochul with the royal couple posing for photos in front of the observation deck’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer stunning views of New York and New Jersey.
He suggested the trip was the royal couple’s way of paying tribute to 9/11 victims, captioning the video: ‘The tragedy of September 11 touched the entire world, and it’s still felt today.
‘We’re honored to join Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, at One World Observatory.’
They put masks on to enter the building, removed them for photos at the top, then put them back on after the photo opportunity.
Harry gave a wave to fans who called his name as he and Meghan walked towards the entrance of the skyscraper
Meghan and Harry arrived at the World Trade Center in New York for their meeting on Thursday morning
Harry arrived at One World Trade Center at 8:14am, shortly after Mayor de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul
Meghan gave her trademark smile as she arrived at the landmark NYC skyscraper, and showed off her huge diamond engagement ring
The royal couple posted for photos at the top of One World Trade Center with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul
Meghan and Harry opted for muted outfits for their first big public outing together since quitting the royal family in 2020
Harry and Megna held hands after getting out of their SUV and walking towards the Freedom Tower for the first meeting on their three day trip to New York City
They held hands as the walked up the steps of the building, with Harry giving a wave to watching fans who shouted his name on seeing him.
No details on why the royals are meeting with the Democrat lawmakers and what they plan to discuss were shared in advance.
De Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray, 66, and the mayoral couple’s son Dante, 24, were also there to welcome the royal couple, who are visiting from their home in Montecito, California.
A small group of taxi drivers protested the event to call on Mayor de Blasio to offer additional protection for elderly yellow cab drivers who’ve been hit by the rise in popularity of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft, with security also present to guard the royals and politicians.
The royal couple ascended the Freedom Tower for a meeting with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NY Governor Kathy Hochul
After their trip up the Freedom Tower, Meghan and Harry will visit the nearby 9/11 memorial reflecting pools
Port Authority Police officers helped guard the royal couple as they began their first public visit to New York since moving to the United States in March 2020
Meghan produced a matching face mask as she approached the revolving door of One World Trade Center, while her husband of three years gave her a tender glance
Meghan was snapped smiling at her husband as they arrived at the entrance to One World Trade Center
Meghan was snapped donning a face mask before entering One World Trade Center to visit its observation deck
Harry also appeared to be reaching for his face mask from his jacket pocket, moments before the royals took an elevator up to the building’s 100th floor viewing deck
Thursday’s visit is the Sussexes’ first public trip to New York City since their permanent move from England to Meghan’s native California in March 2020.
One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, opened in 2014 after the original World Trade Center Twin Towers were destroyed in the 9/11 terror attacks in September 2001.
Harry and Meghan are also set to visit the memorial to the terror attacks after leaving the observatory.
Its two giant sunken pools and cascading waterfalls have been constructed on the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The sides of the pools, which have been constructed from black stone, are inscribed with the names of the 2,977 people murdered in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.
The Sussexes’ itinerary will also see them attend the Global Citizen Live concert in Central Park Saturday.
That will feature performances from artists including Coldplay, Lizzo and Jennifer Lopez, and will take place on the Manhattan park’s Great Lawn.
Harry, Meghan and other dignitaries are attending to draw attention to Global Citizen’s call for the G7 group of countries and EU to share at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines with developing countries.
The music event will form part of a 24-hour broadcast from cities around the world, which also calls for vaccine manufacturers to waive their intellectual property rights on COVID shots.
Global Citizen Live and its supporters have further called for pharmaceutical firms to share mRNA technology used to develop the vaccines with a World Health Organization-backed medical hub based in South Africa.
Harry and Meghan have become heavily-involved in philanthropy since sensationally quitting the Royal Family in January 2020, after complaining of the pressure-cooker environment and life in the spotlight.
The couple’s somber outfit choice came as they visited New York just a fortnight after the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, pictured in red, arrived a few minutes before the royal couple
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, pictured waving, was joined by his wife Chirlane McCray, pictured to his left, and their son Dante
Details on why de Blasio, Hochul and the Sussexes are meeting have yet to be released
The couple have also signed huge deals with Netflix and Spotify, rumored to be worth a combined $125 million, to produce content for the streaming and podcasting giants.
They kicked-off their new lives as aspiring media moguls with a bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview in March 2020.
The most sensational claim from the bombshell-laden chat saw Meghan, who is bi-racial, claim that an unidentified member of the royal family had voiced concerns over the skin tone of the couple’s baby while she was pregnant with Archie, who was born in May 2019.
Meghan went on to refute claims that she’d made the Duchess of Cambridge cry in the run-up to her May 2018 wedding to Harry – and allege that Kate had actually been the one to reduce her to tears.
Kate has not commented on Meghan’s counter-claim. Meanwhile, Harry confirmed a rift with his brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, and told of how his father Prince Charles – the heir to the throne – had cut him off financially.
And the couple, who were expecting their second child at the time, also revealed to Winfrey that they were expecting a girl.
Their daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, was born in California in June.
She was given Queen Elizabeth’s childhood nickname, sparking controversy over whether the royal couple had asked permission to recycle the head of the royal household’s cherished moniker.
Harry and Meghan also paid tribute to the Duke’s late mother Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in August 1997 aged 36.