Hugs for Harry! Beaming Duke joins Meghan as they meet delighted workers at Texas BBQ restaurant ahead of her speech where she revealed cyber bullying ordeal

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited La Barbecue in Austin 
  • The couple both gave owner Alison Clem a huge embrace on arrival  
  • Meghan was in Texas for the SXSW festival where she spoke about her cyberbullying ordeal

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave the owner of a Texas BBQ joint a warm embrace as they stopped by for a visit.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles as they headed into Austin’s La Barbecue restaurant on Friday.

Harry and Meghan both embraced co-owner Alison Clem in a warm hug each before being escorted inside where they greeted other workers.

The couple kept it casual, with Meghan sporting a denim jumpsuit and white linen blazer and Prince Harry opted in relaxed, Henley style shirt.

The visit came as Meghan ahead of Meghan’s appearance at the SXSW festival where she opened up about her cyber-bullying ordeal while pregnant with her children Archie and Lilibet.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave the owner of a Texas BBQ joint a warm embrace as they arrived for a visit

Harry and Meghan both gave Austin's La Barbecue owner Alison Clem a warm hug

Harry and Meghan both gave Austin’s La Barbecue owner Alison Clem a warm hug

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles as they met restaurant employees on Friday

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were all smiles as they met restaurant employees on Friday

But the Duchess seemed much more relaxed as she mingled with restaurant workers, even posing for photos along with Harry.

The couple’s tactile approach marks a sharp break with the tradition of the British monarchy, which has historically been much more formal.

Royal protocol dictated that a person was not to touch the late Queen unless she offered her hand first, for example.

However, her son King Charles and the younger members of the royal family have been moving towards a more casual approach when dealing with the public in a bid to try and keep the institution relevant. 

Meghan complimented her laid-back look with a pair of black and tan Chanel ballet pumps, dark sun glasses and a cream purse.

She was in town for her appearance on a star-studded panel at the opening day of  the SXSW festival, alongside actress Brooke Shields and author Katie Couric.

The Duchess of Sussex discussed ‘breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes’ at the event.

Meghan, 42, talked about social media use and claimed most of the online hate she experienced happened while she was pregnant with her two young children.

Meghan Markle has opened up about the 'hateful' messages she received while pregnant with Archie and Lilibet during SXSW festival today

Meghan Markle has opened up about the ‘hateful’ messages she received while pregnant with Archie and Lilibet during SXSW festival today

The visit to La Barbecue came a day after they were spotted enjoying a dinner at Soho House Austin

The visit to La Barbecue came a day after they were spotted enjoying a dinner at Soho House Austin

‘I keep my distance from it right now for my wellbeing but the bulk of the bullying and abuse I was experiencing in social media and online was when I was pregnant with Archie and with Lili, and with a newborn, with each of them,’ she said.

‘You just think about that and to wrap your head about why people would be so hateful. It’s not catty it’s cruel. Why you would do that when you’re pregnant or as a mom it’s such a tender and sacred time.’

Prince Harry was seen clapping in the front row to support his wife along with her old friend and confidante Markus Anderson.

Dubbed ‘Mr. Soho House’, Markus is often referred to as the ‘second most important man’ in Meghan’s life – and was instrumental in getting Harry and Meghan together.

And just a day previously the couple were spotted looking upbeat and happy at another Texas restaurant linked to their first date.

The couple were seen by onlookers on Thursday night at Soho House Austin, an exclusive members-only club.

‘Harry was very animated throughout the dinner. They were super low key and seemed happy to be around the upbeat vibes at the lively venue,’ a fellow diner said.

The Duchess of Sussex arrived in Texas today to discuss 'breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes'

The Duchess of Sussex arrived in Texas today to discuss ‘breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes’

Prince Harry is seen in the audience as she supports his wife Meghan while she speaks in the panel

Prince Harry is seen in the audience as she supports his wife Meghan while she speaks in the panel 

Prince Harry sat in the front row to support his wife Meghan as she spoke on the panel

Prince Harry sat in the front row to support his wife Meghan as she spoke on the panel 

In July 2016, the couple had their very first date at the Soho House in London and even went back a second time at the club, the next day, as seen in a black and white photo of Meghan nestling into Harry’s shoulder – the pair laughing.

The restaurant, which has made a reputation for itself since its inception, has boasted thousands of wealthy members worldwide including Prince Harry. He recounted in his memoir the first time they met.

‘Red-cheeked, puffing, sweaty, half-an-hour late, I ran into the restaurant, into the quiet room, and found her sitting at a small area on a low velvet sofa in front of a low coffee table,’ Harry recalled about their initial date in his memoir Spare.

The smitten prince said that she was ‘heart-attack beautiful’ when he laid eyes on her that day.

‘I’d seen so many photos of her from fashion shoots and TV sets, all glam and glossy, but there she was, in the flesh, no frills, no filter… and even more beautiful,’ he said.

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