A LEADING Inverclyde businessman was among the first to see newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after being invited to an event at Buckingham Palace.

Puneet Gupta, who runs Greenock-based company PG Paper with wife Poonam, was a special guest at a garden party celebrating charities that Prince Charles is a patron of in the run-up to his 70th birthday in November.

Away from the boardroom, the Guptas are passionate fundraisers and activists for a number of good causes.

Among those are the British Asian Trust - founded by the Prince of Wales in 2007 - and The Elephant Family, which he is joint president of with wife Camilla.

In light of their charity work, Mr Gupta was invited to the palace on Tuesday where the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex were involved in their first official engagement since tying the knot on Saturday.

He said: "This was Harry and Meghan's first public engagement as a married couple and that created even more of a buzz about the event.

"The fact they were at it - just a few days after the wedding - was a nice surprise and made it even better.

"Prince Harry gave a speech and joked that his father, like royals do, was having a party in advance of his actual birthday.

"He made quite a few jokes and brought a good bit of humour to the event."

Mr Gupta is the chief operating officer of the award-winning PG Paper, which was launched by his wife in 2003.

The pair have also helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for a variety of good causes.

Last year they generated more than £12,000 for The Elephant Family after taking part in a 500-mile road race across India, which they won for the second time.

They are also heavily involved in the annual Action for Children sports dinner in Glasgow, which raised a staggering £91,000 12 months ago when tennis stars Greg Rusedski and Scotland's Gordon Reid were the special guests.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion David Haye is the keynote speaker at this year's event on June 22 sponsored by PG Paper for the ninth consecutive year.

Mr Gupta said: "It was a privilege to be invited to the palace.

"The whole purpose of the event was to celebrate the charities Prince Charles has supported over the years leading up to his 70th birthday in November.

"It was an honour to be recognised for our charity work in this way."