The Duchess of Sussex shared a hug with her ‘cousin’ Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts as she and Prince Harry met players ahead of their game against the New York Yankees in London.
As Europe’s first ever Major League Baseball game was given the royal stamp of approval, family history may have also been made as Meghan met award-winning outfielder Betts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park tonight.
Meghan and Betts reportedly share ancestry dating back 150 years to America’s Deep South according to a U.S. genealogist who says both their origins can be traced back to Alabama relatives.
The royal couple are attending to promote Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Foundation which has been partnered with the MLB’s two-game London Series.
Betts told the Boston Globe last year: ‘I saw on television that they were getting married. But I had no idea we were related … That’s not something you expect to hear, but it’s interesting.’
An 1870 Federal Consensus reportedly shows that Joseph Betts is Mookie’s great-great grandfather and Jacob Betts – who lived two doors down from Joseph – is the great-great-great grandfather of Meghan.
Genealogist Jim McNiff, who uncovered the link, believes the chances of coincidence are minimal due to the scarcity of Betts’ in Madison County and the proximity of the neighbours.
Meghan and Betts were seen hugging this evening in the Red Sox locker room as Prince Harry and the players clapped and laughed.
Meghan beamed as each team gave her a baby-sized jersey, with the New York Yankees shirt emblazoned with Archie’s name and the number 19 on the back for the year of his birth.
Former Invictus athletes from the USA and the UK took part in throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the London stadium which is home to Premier League football club West Ham United.
Harry and Meghan strolled out to the mound as they were seen speaking to representatives of the Invictus Games and pitchers CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Chris Sale of the Red Sox.
The couple took to their social media account to share a photo of themselves facing the flags of the USA and United Kingdom as the national anthems for both countries played ahead of the game.
Their post was also captioned: ‘The @weareinvictusgames, of which His Royal Highness is Founding Patron, is the international charity that oversees the development of the Invictus Games, an international adaptive multi-sport event in which wounded injured or sick armed service personnel and veterans participate.’
The Invictus foundation was founded by Prince Harry for wounded, sick and injured armed service personnel to take part in various sporting events.
There is a sell-out crowd tonight as the baseball rivals take each other on before some 66,000 spectators, with the Yankees and the Red Sox competing in the AL East conference.
Similar in style to the British sports of rounders, this is the first time America’s colossal MLB has attempted to sell itself in the UK.
With some of the MLB’s 30 teams having previously played in Mexico, Japan, Australia, and Puerto Rico, it’s believed chiefs at the organisation are keen to make their mark in an untapped market.
But it comes over a decade after the NFL made its debut appearance at London’s Wembley Stadium with a match between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants.
Because of the need for a larger, more circular pitch the organisation has picked the London Stadium to host the inaugural meet.
The former Olympic stadium, where West Ham play their home games, is hosting two games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox this Saturday and Sunday.
The Duchess made her first post-baby appearance three weeks ago, when she paid respect to the Queen’s birthday as she attended Trooping the Colour.
Meghan and Harry welcomed their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, on Monday, May 6.
The little boy received a visit from Prince Harry’s grandparents, the Queen and Prince Phillip, a few days after his birth, alongside Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
Grandmother Doria, who had been staying with the family at Frogmore Cottage since before the birth, has since returned to her hometown of Los Angeles.
The royal couple are planning to resume a full-time schedule in about four months with a trip to South Africa that will mark Archie’s debut on the international stage.
Harry will continue on his own to other African countries, although a date and itinerary have not been set.