Soldier‘s granddaughter Poppie, nine, gets a birthday hug from Meghan Markle

Soldier‘s thrilled granddaughter named Poppie, nine, gets a birthday hug from Meghan Markle as she visits the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey with her family

Poppie Hutton, nine, got to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and got a bear hug from Meghan at Thursday’s Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey

It was a birthday treat Poppie Hutton will never forget.

Eighteen months after she sat glued to the television watching the Duke and ’s Windsor wedding, the nine-year-old not only got to meet the couple but got a bear hug from Meghan – and photographs of her with Harry too.

The youngster from Armargh, , was on her first trip to with her grandparents, Jennifer and Nigel Baird, 48, when she encountered the royals at Thursday’s Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

Poppie, who is named after the flower traditionally used as a mark of remembrance as she had been due around Armistice Day, had persuaded her grandparents to take her with them on their annual pilgrimage to the capital as a 9th birthday treat.

Her grandfather, Nigel, was a former member of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Irish Regiment.

The family were standing by the Royal Irish’s collection of commemorative crosses at the event organised each year by the Poppy Factory, when Andrea McMahon, the unit’s assistant regimental secretary, spotted Harry and Meghan and called them over, telling them it was Poppie’s birthday.

‘Well I’m not singing “Happy Birthday” to you because I’m not a great singer,’ joked Harry, dressed in the frock coat of the Household Cavalry, before bending down to chat to Poppie.

Meghan then came over, and when Poppie told her it was her birthday the duchess, dressed in a stylist navy coat and hat, bent down and unexpectedly gave her a ‘bear hug’ as her proud grandmother Jennifer took pictures.

Her mother, Stacey Hutton, said: ‘She actually pinched herself and asked ‘am I dreaming?’ She just couldn’t believe it. I can’t put it into words. She is still so shocked, just on cloud nine.’ 

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Mrs Hutton, 29, was at a restaurant in Armagh with Poppie’s great-grandmother, when she rang to ask whether there were any pictures of her daughter’s big day out and was told mysteriously, ‘you’ll see’. Her phone has not stopped ringing since.

‘My favourite one is of Meghan giving her a hug. It’s not a wee thing, it’s a proper big bear hug. She’s not just standing on ceremony and is just lovely,’ she said.

‘Poppie’s great-grandmother was going round the restaurant telling everyone that her great-granddaugher was meeting royalty. She was so proud. People keep on telling Poppie she is a celebrity.

‘Meghan has got a bit of a bad press so I think this side of her is good for people to see.’

Her grandparents deliberately hadn’t told her that Harry and Meghan would be at the Abbey in case she didn’t get to see them and was disappointed, having been glued to the television watching their wedding last year. Pictured: Poppie and her grandfather

Poppie said she had been keen to see Queen Elizabeth I’s grave when she was in London as she has been learning about her in history – but never thought she would get to meet royalty in the flesh.

In fact her grandparents deliberately hadn’t told her that Harry and Meghan would be at the Abbey in case she didn’t get to see them and was disappointed, having been glued to the television watching their wedding last year.

Sadly, on her way home from Thursday’s event Poppie had her mobile phone stolen by pickpockets on the Tube, which had dozen of photographs of her four-day trip to London on it.

But fortunately, her grandmother had enough of Poppy, Harry and Meghan on her own phone to send back to the family and her friends at The Armstrong Primary School in Northern Ireland.

Grandmother Jennifer said: ‘We really couldn’t believe it when Harry and Meghan came cover. I think my hands were shaking so much I am surprised any of the pictures are in focus! It was unbelievable really.’

Poppie added: ‘I told Meghan it was my birthday so she just bent down and said happy birthday and gave me a hug. It was a total surprise. I didn’t think they would actually come and talk to me. It made me feel amazing.’ 

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