She has gone from being an actress on the television show Suits to being the Duchess of Sussex. But it seems that Meghan Markle hasn’t forgotten the people she met on her way to the top. During a tour of New Zealand, the royal saw a fan whom she used to message on Instagram – and her heartwarming reaction was caught on camera.
Meghan married Prince Harry on May 19, 2018, at Windsor Castle, England. And in October of that year, the newlyweds embarked on their first big official overseas trip. It saw the couple travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.
The tour was organized around the Invictus Games, a sporting tournament created by Prince Harry in 2014. The event sees injured members of the armed forces and other veterans compete in sports such as indoor rowing, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. And after Harry and Meghan arrived in Australia, they announced some big news.
Harry and Meghan revealed that they were expecting their first child. The baby is due early in 2019. “Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” a statement from Kensington Palace read.
Along with Sydney, where the Invictus Games took place, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex traveled to Dubbo, Melbourne and Queensland. On Fraser Island, they visited the Queen’s Canopy project, which works to renew and protect rainforests in the British Commonwealth. Harry and Meghan also spent three days in Fiji and one in Tonga.
The trip was 16 days long and the royals focused on seeing youth programs at work, as well as learning about environmental projects in the countries they visited. Harry and Meghan subsequently returned to Sydney to attend the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games. Then, they finished up their tour with four days in New Zealand.
There, Harry and Meghan went to Wellington, Abel Tasman National Park, Auckland and Rotorua. They attended a reception for young leaders that was hosted by New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, and visited the Redwoods Treewalk. And everywhere they went, the royals were greeted by throngs of people.
Meghan has already become well-liked as a member of the royal family for her warm personality. And her kind nature was on display as she chatted to and hugged members of the public on their royal visits. But one moment in particular stood out during the couple’s time in New Zealand.
Harry and Meghan had been on a public walkabout of Viaduct Harbour in Auckland, where they were joined by prime minister Ardern. As they were leaving, Hannah Sergel called out to the Duchess. And what happened next was extremely heartwarming.
Meghan had deleted her social media accounts following her engagement to Harry. But before that, she’d befriended Sergel on Instagram, and the pair used to message each other. So when the Duchess walked past the 20-year-old, Sergel shouted, “It’s Hannah from Instagram!”
Sergel also had a sign explaining her identity. But Meghan clearly knew who she was right away. “Oh my God,” the 37-year-old says in a video that captured the touching moment, before walking over to the young woman.
In the video footage, Meghan asks Sergel how she is and says that it’s “so good to meet” her. The fan later revealed on Twitter that the Duchess then told her to “come here” and gave her a big hug. And before they went their separate ways, Sergel presented Meghan with a letter.
The note was quickly passed to 34-year-old Harry, who held onto it until the couple left. After the sweet exchange between Meghan and her Instagram friend, the royals left Viaduct Harbour. Sergel, meanwhile, was overjoyed.
“She said, ‘Thank you for getting in touch,’ and then she gave me a hug and said she would read my letter that I gave her,” Sergel told New Zealand’s 1 NEWS. “I was friends with her on Instagram before she had to deactivate her account. We used to have conversations and stuff on there.”
Sergel revealed that Meghan was always supportive of her. “She would tell me to do well at university and encourage me to be myself,” Sergel explained. The New Zealander also said that it “means the world” to her to know that Meghan knew who she was.
“I am so shaky and flustered. When I first saw her, I cried,” Sergel confessed. She also admitted that she’d been comforted by the prime minister because Sergel was “such a mess.” And later, Arden apparently sent the young girl a direct message containing a photo that showed the moment when Meghan had first noticed her.
Sergel also posted some screenshots on Twitter that she’d taken before Meghan shut down her Instagram page. They included a comment on one of Sergel’s photos calling her “beautiful” and a notification that Meghan was following her. In another, the former actress had written, “Chin up, darling. Whatever it is – chin up.”
In addition, Sergel has been open on social media about her struggles with mental illness. “I honestly didn’t expect to make it out of this year alive,” she tweeted in November 2018. “I’m so grateful for everyone who has stood by me during my darkest days and those who have made me realize life is worth living.”
Harry and Meghan have since returned to the United Kingdom to prepare for the arrival of their first child. The couple also attended celebrations for Prince Charles’ 70th birthday in November 2018. And while the Duchess of Sussex may have left her social media accounts behind, it seems that she is still making a difference.
Sergel credited the star for helping her get through a very difficult time. “She literally saved my life this year,” the fan tweeted. “She knows she did and I’m forever grateful for that. I honestly cannot put into words how important she is to me.”