Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe

When Harry met Catriona …..

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle mingled with some important Irish figures during their official visit to Dublin, including President Michael Higgins, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, and even rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll. But the couple got to meet some TV stars too. During a garden party at the British Embassy yesterday, the Duke of Sussex was photographed sharing a laugh with Outlander‘s Caitriona Balfe, who stars as Claire Fraser on Starz’s hit drama. The Irish actress wore a burnt orange short sleeve dress for the soirée, with gold statement earrings peeking out from her blunt brunette bob.

Balfe was joined by fellow Irish actors Moe Dunford (Vikings) and Barry Keoghan (DunkirkThe Killing of a Sacred Deer) while chatting with Prince Harry. (Sadly there was no sign of Sam Heughan.) We wonder if the trio of thespians had a moment to bond with the Duchess of Sussex about her former acting career and seven-season run on Suits.

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Caitriona Balfe Cheers On ‘Outlander’ Co-Star Sam Heughan As He Runs Stirling Marathon

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe are a team on and off the screen.

The “Outlander” actor shared a photo from the Stirling Scottish Marathon in Scotland on Sunday. He captioned the tweet, “Is it too late to go back to bed? Wish us luck!”

View image on Twitter

Sam Heughan

@SamHeughan

Is it too late to go back to bed? Wish us luck!

And luck he was wished. His co-star Balfe sent good vibes his way.

Heughan, 37, also plugged the charitable causes he was running for, particularly testicular cancer awareness month.

View image on Twitter

Sam Heughan

@SamHeughan

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The Outlander love story boosts visitor numbers

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan star in Outlander, which has given historic sites in Scotland a huge boost in visitor numbers
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan star in Outlander, which has given historic sites in Scotland a huge boost in visitor numbers

Fans of the hit television series Outlander helped to push tourist numbers at Scotland’s historic castles past the five million mark for the first time last year. Our Outlander set locations tour features visits to Doune Castle , Blackness Castle and Linlithgow palace

doune castle, outlander tours

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said that people had come from across the world to see sites associated with the time-travel fantasy starring Sam Heughan and Caitriona BalfeSam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. It said that the “Outlander effect” had led to a 27 per cent increase in tourists from the US and a 19 per cent increase in those coming from France compared with the previous year.

Visitor numbers to Doune Castle, the location for the fictional Castle Leoch, are up by 227 per cent since 2013, when Outlander was first screened. The 15th-century Blackness Castle in West Lothian, the setting for the Tv series has seen a huge rise in visitor numbers .

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at HES, said: “Our record breaking visitor figures, including across all of our top ten sites, are a tremendous achievement for Scotland’s heritage tourism sector, reflecting the continued interest shown by tourists and home-grown visitors to learn more about our rich Scottish heritage.

“The exchange rate, as well as strong airport numbers, have both contributed to the growing figures.

“This rise in visitor numbers at our staffed sites has also been complemented by visitor growth at our unstaffed free access properties, bringing the overall total to an estimated 12 million.”

The top 10 most-visited HES attractions all individually celebrated record-breaking years, with over 2 million people passing over Edinburgh Castle’s drawbridge, an increase of nearly 300,000 visitors in comparison to the previous year.

OUTLANDER star Caitriona Balfe accidentally punched her co-star Sam Heughan in the face

OUTLANDER star Caitriona Balfe accidentally punched her co-star Sam Heughan in the face during their last screen-test before she got the role, it has been revealed.

Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan’s audition for Outlander

Fans were gifted a real treat when the Starz show’s third season was released on DVD, as it included the screen leads’ final audition together before Caitriona, 38, was told she’d bagged the role.

The pair acted out a powerful scene from the Amazon Prime series’ first instalment, which followed Jamie Fraser’s (Sam) reaction to Claire’s (Caitriona) disastrous decision to attempt an impromptu escape back to the Standing Stones.

Yet at the end of it, the camera continued rolling and Caitriona admitted that she was so taken up with acting out the passion between the characters that she accidentally swung her hand around at Sam’s face.

Executive producer Ronald D. Moore explained beforehand: “This was a very important stamp before we cast Caitriona because we’d obviously cast Sam many months before, and we were looking for chemistry between the two characters.

Caitriona Balfe
Outlander stars

STARZ • SONY

Outlander: Caitriona Balfe revealed that she accidentally punched Sam Heughan in the face

Sam and CaitSONY

Outlander: Sam and Cait clearly shared a great deal of chemistry from the get go

Sam and CaitSONY

Outlander: Sam and Cait had a powerful final audition together

I think when you grabbed my hand I like punched you in the face

Caitriona Balfe

“We really felt that Cait was probably gonna be the one, but this was the final moment. This was when she literally sealed the deal and got the show, and as you see they’ve sort of already got the shorthand of their characters and there definitely is on-camera chemistry between the two.”

The creator continued with a smile: “After the scene is over we just kind of kept the tape running a little bit, just kind of wanted to see them a little more relaxed and interacting.

“You can see they’re sort of awkwardly aware the camera is still running but nonetheless there is enough spontaneity and genuine affection, and good humour between the two of them that spoke volumes about their potential relationship.”

Clearly struggling to contain their nerves after the audition, Sam broke the ice to try and diffuse the awkwardness of the intense scene between them.