Words by Sarah Carty.
The 37-year-old Duchess of Sussex was at Viaduct Harbour in Auckland for a public walkabout with her husband, 34-year-old Prince Harry, when she stopped in her tracks after recognising a woman in the crowd.
Avid fan Hannah had spoken about her battles with her mental health on Instagram and Meghan used to regularly private message her, offering her advice and support, before she deactivated her account when she joined the Royal Family.
In the video, Meghan can be seen walking along holding hands with Harry, when suddenly she stops and her jaw drops in shock.
She can be seen quickly letting go of her husband’s hand and making her way over to Hannah, who’s filming the whole thing.
the wee “oh my god” when she realises it’s me 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/aHOfAty6a1
— hannah (@bellisariho) October 30, 2018
“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,” Hannah told 1 NEWS about her encounter with the Duchess.
“I was friends with her on Instagram before she had to deactivate her account.
“We used to have conversations and stuff on there. She would tell me to do well at university and encourage me to be myself.”
As if meeting her idol wasn’t enough for one day, Hannah later received a private message on Twitter from New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
“She just sent me this photo of Meghan noticing me… we are now best friends,” Hannah wrote online.
The picture shows a visibly shocked Meghan standing with her mouth wide open, with Prince Harry looking very confused.
The social Duchess
Meghan was an avid Instagram fan before she met Harry and even had her own blog, called The Tig.
She would regularly post pictures to her Instagram account of her in various yoga poses, her beloved dogs and her cozy apartment.
However, in January 2018 all of her photos vanished, just two months after her then fiancé, Prince Harry, released a statement claiming Meghan ‘has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment’.
On her recent trip to Bondi Beach, Meghan spoke with locals about the dangers of social media.
Lyn Malcolm from Sydney spoke with the Duchess when the royal couple sat with One Wave surfing community group.
“She said you have to be really careful with social media,” Lyn told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“She said it’s important to feel really ok within yourself regardless of what happens on social media. You might get lots and lots of likes and one dislike and you feel terrible.
“All of it doesn’t really matter, it’s all about how you can get to feel within yourself. That was really powerful.”
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